NEW YORK - The stock market broke a three-day slide as two big technology companies signaled that business was improving, raising hopes about business spending.
Tech stocks led the market higher in choppy trading yesterday. Software company Oracle Corp. and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. each posted earnings that topped expectations.
The better results at Oracle, which makes software for large businesses, suggested that companies are becoming more willing to spend on technology projects. Research In Motion increased profits as it added subscribers and record sales of its smartphones. Palm Inc., however, reported a wider second-quarter loss than analysts predicted as sales fell.
Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL Financial in Boston, said the reports lifted technology shares because investors saw it as a sign that profits could grow and help other parts of the economy that are struggling.
The day began with a frenzy of buying and selling as several types of options contracts expired. Volatility was also high as several stocks were added to and dropped from the Standard & Poor's 500 index, a widely used benchmark and the basis for many indexed mutual funds.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20.63, or 0.2 percent, to 10,328.89.
The broader S&P 500 index rose 6.39, or 0.6 percent, to 1,102.47, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 31.64, or 1.5 percent, to 2,211.69.
Next week, investors will look to reports on home sales, consumer sentiment, and demand for durable manufactured goods. Analysts have been monitoring the strength of holiday sales because spending accounts for a majority of U.S. economic activity.