US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Tech stocks lead on Oracle outlook

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) – Mid- and smallcap stocks
rose on Friday, supported by a bullish outlook from Oracle
Corp (ORCL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and quarter-end buying by portfolio managers and
hedge funds.

Technology stocks, which analysts said were oversold
recently, led the gains after Oracle forecast a rise in new
software sales in its fiscal fourth quarter, fueling hopes a
global resurgence in technology spending remained intact.

With the market near the end of the quarter end, portfolio
managers snapped up top performers such as energy and material
stocks, which rose recently on high oil prices amid growing
geopolitical concerns.

“Cyclical leadership in industrials, materials and energy
continues to expand to new multi-month relative highs …
while other beta names in tech and consumer are deeply
oversold and beginning to rebound,” said Robert Sluymer, an
analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

Shares of Astea International Inc (ATEA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) surged to their
highest in almost four years, a day after the software maker
reported a three-fold rise in quarterly profit, helped by a
jump in revenue from software licenses.

The stock was up 48.5 percent at $5.94 after nearly
doubling earlier in the day, making it the Nasdaq’s top
percentage gainer. Trading volume in the stock was about 200
times normal activity.

Among energy companies, Frontier Oil (FTO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 5.4
percent to $28.46 and Minerals Tech (MTX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 2.5 percent
to $68.70.

The S&P SmallCap 600 index (.SML: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1.6 percent on
Friday, and was up 5.8 percent for the quarter.

The S&P MidCap 400 index (.MID: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 1.3 percent, and
was up 7.6 percent for the quarter.

In comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 0.6
percent and was up 4.7 percent for the quarter.

“Mid-cap leadership remains intact and attempting to
re-accelerate. It’s a net positive for the broader market,”
Sluymer said.

On the downside, LoJack Corp (LOJN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) was the biggest
decliner in the SmallCap index, falling 12.4 percent to $4.33
after JPMorgan cut its rating and price target on the
company’s stock. [ID:nWNAB0703]
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jan Paschal)

US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Tech stocks lead on Oracle outlook