10-1-13 11:13 AM EDT | Email Article

By Dan Gallagher, MarketWatch


SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Apple Inc. got a mid-morning lift from Carl Icahn's latest tweet, adding to gains for the tech sector that was already being driven upwards by Amazon.com, Yahoo and Netflix.


Taking to his Twitter account, Icahn said he had a "cordial dinner" with Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook on Monday night, at which "we pushed hard for a $150 billion buyback." Apple had previously raised its buyback to $60 billion from $10 billion back in April.


"We decided to continue dialogue in about three weeks," Icahn wrote. The tweet boosted Apple's shares, which were trading up 1.8% to $485 at last check. The company is widely expected to roll out updates to its iPad lineup sometime in late October, having just launched its newest iPhones on Sept. 20.


The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) was up 0.9% to 3,804 while the Morgan Stanley High-Tech Index (MSH) rose 1% and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) rose 1%.


Amazon (AMZN) shares rose 1.4% to $317.13 after the company said it is planning to hire up to 70,000 full-time seasonal workers for its fulfillment centers for the holiday season. That's about 40% more than the temporary seasonal workers hired by the company last year, implying the e-commerce giant is expecting stronger sales this holiday season, though no financial guidance was given.


Yahoo shares rose 2% to $33.80 after Citigroup raised its price target on the stock to $39 from $31. In a note to clients, analyst Mark May cited his increased valuation of Alibaba -- the Chinese e-commerce giant in which Yahoo holds an ownership stake -- as well as "raising our valuation for core Yahoo! based on recent strong user growth and search trends," along with higher valuation multiples for the peer group.


"While pressure on Tier 1 ad prices could remain a headwind, we believe that is already known and reflected, and there are encouraging signs that the new management team's efforts are resulting in improved user trends and mobile traction," he wrote.


Netflix (NFLX) shares were up 3% to $318.82. Janney Capital wrote in a note on Monday afternoon that recent Web usage data indicates that Netflix "could roughly be on target with international subs and shows a very high level of interest in its originals that is on par with major hit pay TV shows." The brokerage also noted that the data may imply "a moderation in U.S. churn" for the movie streaming service.


Cree (CREE) jumped more than 9% to $65.67 following an upgrade from Canaccord Genuity, which noted "an improving bulb cost structure and continued momentum in lighting" related to the company's solid-state lighting business. Analyst Jonathan Dorsheimer set a buy rating and $80 price target on the shares.


Paychex (PAYX) shares were down 1.5% to $40, after the payroll services firm posted a small earnings gain for its first fiscal quarter and re-affirmed its full-year outlook.

-Dan Gallagher; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com


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10-01-13 1113ET

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