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Tech Companies Lift Stocks After Record Inauguration Day Loss

IBM helped lead the rally with a 7% increase on earnings reports and optimistic forecasts for 2009.
Technology companies helped lift investor hopes and share prices on Wall Street Wednesday.

All major indexes rose and recovered somewhat from Tuesday's steep losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 279.01, or 3.51%, to close at 8,228.10 Wednesday, a day after slipping below the 8,000 mark.

The S&P 500 rose 4.35%, or 35.02, to close at 840.24, while the Nasdaq composite rose 4.60% or 66.21, to close at 1,507.07.

While President Barack Obama pushed to overhaul the economic stimulus program and his appointees were sworn in, technology companies helped lift indexes with positive earnings reports and projections. The shift was welcomed one day after record losses on Inauguration Day.

IBM helped lead the rally with a 7% increase on earnings reports (a 12% increase on quarterly profits) and optimistic forecasts for 2009. IBM shares traded up $9.44 at $91.42 on news that its 4Q profits had risen to $4.4 billion, or $3.28 per share. The company projected earnings of $9.20 per share for 2009.

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo all rose about 2% as well. eBay shares rose nearly 6% before the closing bell but lost gains in after-hours trading.

Also after the closing bell, Apple released its earnings report for 1Q and beat expectations with $10.17 billion in revenue, or $1.78 per share, and $1.61 billion in net profit. The company stressed that the earnings were record-breaking, but said it expects to earn 90 cents to $1 per share during the current quarter, which ends in March.

Banks also helped lead Wednesday's rally after dragging down the indexes a day earlier.