9-24-13 6:29 PM EDT | Email Article

By Rex Crum, MarketWatch


SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Gains from Facebook Inc. and Applied Materials Inc. countered losses from Red Hat Inc. and helped the tech sector to finish Tuesday slightly higher.


Facebook (FB) climbed almost 3%, to $48.45, a new closing high. Citigroup analyst Mark May raised his rating on the social-networking company to buy from neutral, and also upped his price target on Facebook's stock to $55 a share from $32. May based much of his upgrade on feedback from advertising and that Facebook's future advertising opportunities.


Semiconductor-equipment maker Applied Materials (AMAT) rose 9%, to $17.45, after the company said it would acquire Tokyo Electron Ltd. in an-all stock deal. Applied Materials Chief Executive Gary Dickerson will be CEO of the combined company.


Read: 5 reasons Applied Materials is buying Tokyo Electron.


LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) shares climbed 2.6% to $245.80 after Evercore Partners analyst Ken Sena raised his price target on the company's stock to $280 a share from $250.


The gains helped the Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) rose 0.1% to close at 3,768. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) rose 0.7%.


Red Hat (RHT) was the day's big decliner. Its shares fell nearly 12% to close at $46.73. Late Monday, the open-source software company reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results, but its billings for new orders of $376 million fell short of analysts' consensus expectations of almost $400 million. Analysts at Pacific Crest Securities and Piper Jaffray also cut their ratings on Red Hat's stock.


Apple (AAPL) was trimmed by $1.54 a share to close at $489.10. The stock made an earlier gain after getting upgraded by analyst Chris Caso at Susquehanna Financial Group. He raised his rating on Apple to positive from neutral, and increased his price target on the stock to $625 a share from $440. Caso based his views largely on Apple's strong first-weekend sales of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.


Two other brokers issued reports that said the strong opening-weekend sales may have been helped by large numbers of the iPhone 5C that may still be sitting on other retailers' shelves.


Pandora Media Inc. (P) rose almost 1% to close at $24.47 as company founder Tim Westergren said at a Goldman Sachs conference that he thought Apple's iTunes Radio service would have a "modest" impact on Pandora.


EMC (EMC) and NetApp (NTAP) were downgraded to equal-weight, or neutral, ratings by Barclays Capital. In a note to clients, analyst Ben Reitzes noted that both vendors of high-end corporate data-storage solutions are approaching his price targets.


"With new products and capital return announcements largely behind both companies, we see fewer incremental catalysts over the next several quarters to warrant significant multiple expansion beyond current levels," he wrote. EMC fell 1.3% to close at $25.90, while NetApp was off by almost 1% to end the day at $42.88.

-Rex Crum; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com


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09-24-13 1829ET

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