Midday movers: Microsoft, Oracle, JC Penney
Stocks are given a lift by revised housing data and encouraging reports from Greece about a coalition government.
Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) moved up more than 3.5% after the company introduced its own line of Surface tablets to compete with Apple's (AAPL) market-leading iPad.
Another tech titan moving higher was Oracle (ORCL), which preemptively reported stronger than expected fourth-quarter results three days ahead of schedule to diffuse speculation that the pending departure of a senior sales executive was a sign that its business was stagnating.
The company also said it plans to buy back up to $10 billion in shares and investors responded positively, sending the stock up about 3%. Among others reporting earnings, advancers included FedEx (FDX) and Discover (DFS), while decliners included Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Walgreen (WAG).
Among the notable gainers Tuesday are Sequenom (SQNM), up over 11%, following an initiation of coverage with a "buy" rating and $6 price target at Maxim, and Network Equipment Technologies (NWK), up about 12% to $1.32, on news it will be acquired by Sonus Networks (SONS) for $1.35 per share.
Noteworthy losers include J.C. Penney (JCP), down 10%, after saying that president Michael Francis was leaving the company after a short tenure, and Dendreon (DNDN), down 3.5%, after Jefferies said in a note to investors that Medivation (MDVN), which also has developed a prostate cancer treatment, is a more attractive takeover target.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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