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TECH STOCKS: Groupon, Amazon, Netflix Pace Tech Gains

02/13/2013 | 05:16pm US/Eastern
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By Rex Crum, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tech stocks showed some muscle Wednesday, with gains from Groupon Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. helping to counter losses elsewhere in the sector.

Groupon (>> Groupon Inc) shares rose 5.4%, to close at $5.58, after Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia raised his rating on the online daily deals and e-commerce company to buy from neutral and set a $9-a-share price target on the stock.

In a research note, Bhatia said his upgrade wasn't based on expectations for Groupon's upcoming fourth-quarter results, but on a "greater conviction in the company's ability to evolve beyond its current business, its ability to execute internationally and its positioning within mobile commerce."

Amazon (>> Amazon.com, Inc.) shares rose more than 4%, to end the day at $269.47. The company announced an expanded content-licensing agreement with CBS Corp. (>> CBS Corporation). The deal adds CBS and Showtime shows such as "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "United States of Tara" to the Amazon Prime Instant Video lineup.

Netflix (>> Netflix, Inc.) also had a strong day, rising 4.7% to end the day at $186.27. J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth raised his price target on Netflix's stock to $205 a share from $180, saying that recent meetings with company management suggest that Netflix's original series "House of Cards" is off to a strong start just 12 days after release.

Anmuth also said that Netflix is likely to push further into original programming "as it looks to differentiate itself from other streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu, along with cable networks like HBO (>> Time Warner Inc.) and Showtime."

Dell Inc. (>> Dell Inc.) shares gave up 2 cents to close at $13.77. Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi cut his rating on the PC maker to market perform, or neutral, from outperform, and said in a research note that he believes the company's plan to go private will succeed.

Cisco Systems Inc. (>> Cisco Systems, Inc.) closed with a gain of 17 cents a share at $21.14 in advance of the company's quarterly results, due after the close of trading.

Among tech companies slated to report quarterly results after the market close NetApp Inc. (>> NetApp Inc.) rose 1.2% to close at $35.82 and Applied Materials Inc. (>> Applied Materials, Inc.) edged up by 11 cents a share to close at $13.77. Online professional review company Angie's List Inc. (>> Angie's List Inc) and graphics chip company Nvidia Corp. (>> NVIDIA Corporation) closed in the red.

The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) rose more than 10 points to close at 3,196, and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) and the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) also ended the day in positive territory.

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