Technology stocks are on their longest winning streak in more than four months, climbing for the fifth day in a row as traders focus on third-quarter profit prospects instead of the crude oil price and election polls that have held back the market.
The tech-driven Nasdaq Stock Market composite index climbed 10 points to 1,952.40, which left the index up more than 90 points during the past five days. The five-day run pushed the Nasdaq composite back above 1,950 for the first time since before the Fourth of July.
Today's market mover was software maker Siebel Systems Inc., whose stock jumped more than 14 percent after the company reported its sales are running well ahead of analysts' predictions.
Previews of quarterly profits are beginning to flow, giving traders something more substantial than the price of oil or presidential polls to guide their buying and selling.
Oil prices slipped back below $50 a barrel, but aside from falling below that benchmark, the oil futures market gave investors no real reasons for rejoicing, keeping crude at $49.91 a barrel.
Weekend opinion polls generally show the presidential race is getting tighter, which ordinarily would be worrisome for Wall Street. Some market analysts have attributed recent gains in stock prices to investors betting on President Bush to be reelected. If that were the case, the polls since last Thursday night's debate ought to be adding to the uncertainty about the election's outcome. But stocks rallied strongly Friday amidst media reports that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry bettered Bush in the debate and continued to rise today after more poll results were reported.
While the Nasdaq Composite has been the strongest performer recently, other measures of the market also gained today.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 24 points to 10,216.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index added almost 4 points, closing at 1,135.17.