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NEW YORK (AP) _ Better-than-expected results from Hewlett-Packard gave the market a boost Thursday, sending stocks moderately higher on investors' hopes that business was improving.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 93.59, or 1.1 percent, to 8,716.60, adding to a 148.23 gain the day before.

Broader indicators also were higher. The Nasdaq composite index advanced 20.90, or 1.5 percent, to 1,440.25, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 9.25, or 1.0 percent, to 923.40.

Shares of H-P rose $1.90 to $18.75 as investors reacted to the company's earnings report, released late Wednesday, that beat analyst expectations. The technology company also reaffirmed its forecasts for the current quarter.

The buying spread to other technology stocks. Microsoft advanced 35 cents to $56.97, while Intel gained 28 cents to $19.43.

Blue chips also showed strength. Merck rose $1.48 to $58.96 on hopes a vaccine it is helping develop could prevent cervical cancer.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller company stocks, rose 2.91 to 391.50.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average finished Tuesday up 2.5 percent. In afternoon trading in Europe, France's CAC-40 advanced 3.0 percent, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.7 percent and Germany's DAX index gained 1.4 percent.


On the Net:

New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com

Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com