US STOCKS-Wall St climbs as Oracle lifts tech, volume still low


 * Tech gains, Oracle outlook signals strong IT spending
 * BlackBerry maker RIM slips after disappointing outlook
 * Final read on Q4 GDP revised upward to 3.1 pct
 * Dow up 0.7 pct, S&P up 0.7 pct, Nasdaq up 1 pct
 * For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
  (Updates to midday, changes byline)
 By Ryan Vlastelica
 NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - Wall Street advanced on
Friday with Oracle's upbeat outlook lifting tech stocks,
though weak trading volume hinted the rally lacks enthusiasm.
 All three major stock indexes looked set to end the week
in positive territory after two straight weeks of declines.
The S&P was on track to notch its best week in eight, raising
renewed questions about how much upside potential was left.
 "Fundamentals are improving, but I'm not sure the economy
will jump back on the high-speed rails to expansion like
investors are hoping," said Andrew Wilkinson, senior market
analyst at Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich,
Connecticut.
 "I think expectations are going to be a little more sober
heading into the future."
 Trading volume has been weak, with Tuesday's session the
lowest of the year, pointing to a lack of conviction.
 The stock of Oracle Corp (ORCL.O: Quote, Profile, Research), a leading seller of
software to businesses, jumped 3.3 percent to $33.20 and
ranked as the Nasdaq's most actively traded name a day after
the company forecast a rise in fourth-quarter new software
sales. Oracle's outlook fueled hopes that a global resurgence
in tech spending remains intact. The results prompted at least
12 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock. For
details, see [ID:nL3E7EP1HG] and [ID:nN24301684]
 The S&P technology index (.GSPT: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 0.7 percent on
Friday, and is up more than 3 percent so far this quarter.
 In a further boost to techs, Accenture (ACN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 5.9
percent to $55.01 after the technology outsourcing and
consulting company raised its outlook. [ID:nN24180187]
 The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 80.41
points, or 0.66 percent, at 12,250.97. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 9.29 points, or 0.71 percent, at
1,318.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 25.95
points, or 0.95 percent, at 2,762.37.
 On the downside in tech shares, BlackBerry maker Research
In Motion Ltd (RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research)(RIMM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said earnings would slip as it
spends heavily to launch its PlayBook tablet. The company's
U.S.-listed shares sank 11 percent to $57.05. [ID:nN24175647]
 "Oracle and RIM were diametrically opposed and we're
seeing the stocks react accordingly," said Michael Quigley,
tech analyst at Wedgewood Partners in St. Louis. "RIM's growth
is pausing because it is in the middle of a product
transition, but Oracle shows IT spending continues to be
strong. The whole software chain seems to be doing well."
 The U.S. economy grew more quickly than previously
estimated in the fourth quarter as businesses restocked
shelves to meet rising demand, while consumer sentiment fell
to its lowest level in more than a year in March.
[ID:nN25243056]
 U.S. consumer sentiment in March fell to its lowest level
in more than a year as gasoline and food prices rose,
according to the latest consumer survey from Thomson Reuters
and the University of Michigan. [ID:nLDE72O1GZ]
 Edwards Lifesciences Corp (EW.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 4.7 percent to
$89.37. Standard & Poor's said late Thursday the company would
be added to the S&P 500 after the close of trading on March
31. On Friday, Madison Williams upgraded the stock to "buy."
[ID:nL3E7EP23K]
 (Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Jan Paschal)



US STOCKS-Wall St climbs as Oracle lifts tech, volume still low