Homebuilding stocks continue to rebound from 52-week lows carved out last week while tech investors were encouraged by a number of favorable earnings reports and brightening sentiment.
Priceline.com shares surged after the company posted strong quarterly earnings and raised forward guidance. The online U.S. travel agency said quarterly profit more than doubled primarily due to a surge in international bookings.
S&P Equity Research analyst Scott Kessler lifted his price target on Priceline to $80 from $65. "Growth in gross bookings at Priceline's Booking.com accelerated to 93% from 92% from the first quarter, surprisingly robust, in our view, as it continues to benefit from momentum in Europe and to execute extremely well."
Toll Brothers and other homebuilding stocks such as Beazer Homes showed notable strength for the second straight day.
Brocade Communications Systems moved higher after the network equipment maker issued preliminary earnings slightly above analysts' consensus estimate. Goldman Sachs analyst Laura Conigliaro reiterated a "neutral" rating and said the update should give the stock some near-term relief.
"Brocade's shares have already come down by 24.6% this year, underperforming the Goldman Sachs Technololgy Index by 35% and therefore, we believe, have already discounted its more difficult competitive position," she wrote in a client note. "A revenue reset could be just the catalyst to get more value-oriented investors to step up."
The Goldman Sachs Tech index, as measured by the IGV exchange-traded fund, is up about 5% year to date.
Cisco Systems shares led tech stocks higher on Wednesday after the company posted strong quarterly earnings and lifted fiscal 2008 guidance. CEO John Chambers told CNBC Wednesday the global economy was the strongest he has seen, though the next quarter or to could be a little bumpy for the U.S. economy.
Wireless chipmaker Broadcom saw shares move sharply higher on news the company will supply the EDGE chipset for mobile phone manufacturing giant Nokia.
Among downside movers, Leap Wireless International plunged 20% after the mobile phone service provider was downgraded by a pair of analysts due to weak net subscription additions. Leap reported said late Tuesday net subscriber additions of 127,000, while analysts were looking for 160,000.
Wachovia Securities cut the rating on the stock to "market perform" from "outperform" due to the company's higher churn rate. Meanwhile, Citigroup said slowing subscriber momentum will likely continue for the next 6 to 9 months and downgraded Leap shares to "hold" from "buy."
Peter Kang is a markets writer at CNBC.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.