Tech stocks feel market buzz

The Blackberry Bold smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Note phablet and Apple iPad 2 tablet are displayed in Hong Kong. Photo by Reuters.
The Blackberry Bold smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Note phablet and Apple iPad 2 tablet are displayed in Hong Kong. Photo by Reuters.
United States technology stock prices were on the move yesterday, with interest in Facebook's announcement today pushing the price above $US32 ($NZ38.02) for the first time since July.

Facebook will today host its first major press event at its Menlo Park, California, headquarters since its troubled initial public offering in May.

The invitation to media triggered a guessing game among technology observers and online blogs about what it could reveal - everything from a smartphone to a search engine.

Jeffries & Co analyst Brian Pitz believed the announcement was advertisement-platform related. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had previously said making a smartphone would be the ''wrong strategy'' for the company.

Shares of Dell Inc soared 13% to a near eight-month high of $US12.83 after Bloomberg reported the world's third-largest PC maker was in talks with at least two private equity firms about going private.

The discussions between the PC maker, which had steadily ceded market share to larger rivals Hewlett Packard and China's Lenovo, and private equity were preliminary and financing had not been secured, Bloomberg reported. Dell said it did not comment on rumours or speculation.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) saw its shares rise 10.3% in anticipation of a product launch scheduled at the end of the month. Its stock rose as high as $C15.08 ($NZ18.22) in early Nasdaq trading. Some analysts said a dearth of any major smartphone news at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week boded well for RIM as it moved closer towards unveiling the make-or-break new line.

''The lack of new smartphone buzz could be seen as positive, given it clears the road for the BlackBerry 10 device announcement January 30,'' TD Securities analyst Scott Penner said in a note to clients.

The lack of news was expected. Even so, Mr Penner wrote, it reassured investors that the BlackBerry 10 would be competitive with the best that Apple, Samsung Electronics, Nokia and other rivals had on offer.

The stock also got a boost from media reports that Aircel and Vodafone Group were gearing up to market the new BlackBerry in India. RIM has long counted India for strong growth. Sharemarket ''darling'' Apple was hit on reports it was slowing production of its iPhone 5, increasing worries the appeal of some of its products was waning. The stock was down 3.3% at $US503.35. Apple slashed its original target to order 65 million iPhone 5 displays this quarter by about half, Nikkei reported from an unidentified source.

Samsung announced yesterday it had sold 100 million Galaxy S smartphones, which include the original Galaxy, Galaxy SII and Galaxy SIII. It took Samsung two years and seven months to reach the same milestone it took Apple nearly four years to meet.

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