Today: Big Silicon Valley tech stocks have a strong day on Wall Street, pushing stock indexes higher. Also: San Mateo's SolarCity reportedly puts off its expected initial public offering, Yahoo (YHOO) redesigns webmail service.
Apple, Intel and Google lead indexes to full post-election recovery
Silicon Valley tech firms received all the buzz Tuesday on Wall Street, pushing stock indexes to gains that helped the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 erase their post-election losses and pushed the Nasdaq back above 3,000.
Large gains from Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Intel (INTC) helped push the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index up 1.2 percent and the SV150 index of the valley's largest tech companies up 1.7 percent, while the Dow rose 0.6 percent and the S&P 0.7 percent. Apple, which is part of all of those indexes except the Dow, experienced a large drop last week amid a host of possible reasons and a ton of news related to the Cupertino tech giant. On Tuesday, it bounced back with a 2.2 percent gain, despite more negativity related to its Apple Maps mobile app and no further news on the possibility that its $1 billion judgment against Samsung could be reduced.
Investors may be focused on the money Apple is raking in instead: IDC reported Monday that Apple and Samsung are leading in sales of mobile devices during the holiday season, with the high margins on Apple products signalling that it is going to pull in healthy profits again this quarter. Future profits are also a consideration, as pundits continue to predict an Apple television set, and Morgan Stanley reporting Tuesday that consumers in a poll said they were prepared to pay 20 percent more than typical prices for such a device.
Intel had an even more bountiful day percentage-wise, gaining 2.8 percent as it showed off new chips for a second consecutive day. After debuting mobile chips Monday that it expects to introduce in 2013, the Santa Clara chipmaker introduced new server chips Tuesday that suck up less power, as they're based on mobile architecture.
The new chips could be especially attractive to large tech companies that use a lot of power for their servers, and one of those companies sent an executive to Tuesday's event to say exactly that: Menlo Park social network Facebook.
"We do face unprecedented scale at Facebook, and that's one of the reasons we're so highly motivated to figure out the most efficient way to scale infrastructure efficiently and support all the people using Facebook," Frank Frankovsky, Facebook vice president of hardware design and supply chain, said Tuesday.
Mountain View search giant Google also experienced a strong gain, increasing 1.7 percent as CEO Larry Page followed Apple CEO Tim Cook's example from last week and gave a rare interview to the media. Page spoke on a variety of topics in his long discussion with Fortune magazine, including the recent battle between his company and other tech behemoths, harkening back to the comapny's "Don't Be Evil" motto.
"I think it would be nice if everybody would get along better and the users didn't suffer as a result of other people's activities," Page said. "I try to model that. We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can. That's our philosophy. I think sometimes we're allowed to do that. Sometimes we're not."
It's possible the Federal Trade Commission doesn't agree with Page's altruistic view of his company, as it continues to investigate alleged antitrust practices. Reuters reported Tuesday that Google is nearing an agreement on part of the charges against it -- involving the company's use of patents -- while continuing to negotiate with the FTC.
Other strong performances by Silicon Valley companies Tuesday on Wall Street included Foster City biopharmaceutical company Gilead, which gained 2.8 percent; Los Gatos video-on-demand service Netflix (NFLX), which rose 1.5 percent; San Jose e-commerce giant eBay (EBAY), which increased 1.6 percent; and San Jose solar manufacturer SunPower (SPWRA), which moved up 4.4 percent.
SolarCity postpones initial public offering, according to report
Silicon Valley's latest solar entry into the public markets was expected to make its debut Wednesday, but Reuters reported Tuesday afternoon that San Mateo-based SolarCity instead planned to put off its initial public offering.
SolarCity was expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol SCTY on Wednesday after establishing a final price Tuesday afternoon, making it the first installer of solar systems to perform an IPO. But Reuters reported that the company instead would postpone the offering, according to an underwriter for the company and a market source.
The move seems odd after company chairman Elon Musk, the CEO of Palo Alto electric-car maker Tesla, publicly filed a notice this week that he had committed to purchase $15 million worth of the stock, which was seen as a sign of confidence in the company's vision and cofounders Lyndon and Peter Rive, who happen to be his cousins.
In earlier filings, SolarCity said it expected to sell 10 million shares, with a planned range of $13 to $15 a share. At the midrange point of $14 a share, the six-year-old company would have raises $140 million at a valuation of roughly $1.2 billion.
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Yahoo redesigns e-mail service with eye on mobile offerings
Yahoo has started rolling out new versions of its webmail interface, including its first standalone app for Apple's mobile operating system, as Marissa Mayer continues to focus on the company's mobile offerings in her first year as CEO.
Mayer announced the e-mail redesign Tuesday morning in a blog post, focusing on the new offering's speed and uncluttered feel, similar to the look and feel of Gmail, which Mayer helped develop at former employer Google.
"Because mobile is everything these days, Yahoo Mail now has a consistent look and feel across devices," Mayer wrote Tuesday, staying on message, as she has said that mobile advances are her top priority at Yahoo. The new app will be available on iOS and Android devices, as well as appearing similar on desktop and Windows tablet environments.
Yahoo stock rose 0.5 percent Tuesday and again hit a 52-week high by rising to $19.63 in intraday trading before closing at $19.52, Yahoo's highest closing price since September 2008. Since Mayer was appointed CEO on June 16, Yahoo's stock has gained 24.8 percent.
Silicon Valley tech stocks
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 35.34, or 1.18 percent, to 3,022.3
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 78.56, or 0.6 percent, to 13,248.44
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 9.29, or 0.65 percent, to 1,427.84
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.