Today: After a miserable spring, tech stocks are recovering just in time for summer as Nasdaq hits 14-year high, Dow and S&P 500 set records. Also, Oracle tumbles after weak earnings.
The lead: Stock market appears to be out of the woods
Bear market? What bear market? Tech stocks, which had plunged in the spring, have rebounded just in time for summer.
Netflix and Tesla Motors, the two Silicon Valley stars that each saw their shares plummet more than 23 percent earlier this year, have turned things around of late. Netflix, the Los Gatos on-demand video leader, is up 21 percent in the past month after posting strong quarterly gains, announcing a new slate of streaming programming and hiking subscription rates for new customers. Tesla, the Palo Alto electric car maker, is up 16 percent since May, after beating quarterly expectations and as excitement rises over its gigafactory plans and bold move to make public its electric-car patents.
Facebook, which hit all-time highs then promptly dropped more than 21 percent earlier this year, has recovered about half its losses, and is up 10 percent in the past month. Yelp, the San Francisco reviews site, shed more than 34 percent in two months, but has surged 30 percent -- again, making up about half its losses -- since mid-May. Even Twitter, which is down 39 percent for the year, is up 24 pecent in the past month.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which had shed more than 12 percent -- about 380 points -- between March and April, bottoming out at 3,9999 on April 11, has soared since, closing at 4,368.04 on Friday, a 14-year high point. The Dow and Standard & Poors 500 also closed Friday at record highs. The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's biggest companies dropped about 8 percent in April, but has recovered much of that since, rising nearly 5.5 percent in the past month.
What's changed? In a nutshell, investors are less worried than they were. National manufacturing and hiring numbers have remained strong, long-term interest rates remain low, and many companies' earnings reports were not as bad as feared. Add to that the fact that Fed chief Janet Yellen has maintained the economic status quo, China's manufacturing hasn't imploded as some feared, and Ukraine and Russia have avoided all-out war. Investors who just a few months ago were hedging their bets are willing to risk again.
"We're seeing a lot of market appreciation coming from the flow back into risk assets," Brad McMillan, the chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, told Bloomberg News. "We saw that reverse as people got scared and we're seeing it re-reverse as people get more confident."
Tech stocks still have a ways to go -- Nasdaq-listed tech companies are still 9 percent below their 2014 high-water marks, but it appears that the market is out of the woods, leaving the bears behind.
"We've moved higher and then a step back every once in a while, but nothing has really derailed this market." Jonathan Corpina, a senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners, told Bloomberg.
SV150 market report: Oracle tumbles after disappointing earnings
The major indexes each rose slightly to new all-time highs Friday, though tech stocks lagged behind, with the SV150 index dipping slightly thanks to losses by a handul of Silicon Valley's biggest companies.
Redwood City-based Oracle fared the worst, falling almost 4 percent, or $1.69, to $40.82, a day after reporting disappointing quarterly profits. Apple shares declined more than 1 percent, or 95 cents, to $90.91, despite another report of the long-rumored "iWatch." This time it was the Wall Street Journal chiming in, reporting the device will hit shelves this fall and will feature an array of sensors and come in a number of sizes.
On the positive side, Foster City-based Gilead Sciences rose 1.8 percent, or $1.42, to $81.20, after Bristol-Myers Squibb said it would test one of its drugs in combination with Gilead's anti-hapatitis C drug, Sovaldi, in an effort to cut treatment time. A shorter timeframe could make Sovaldi more attractive to insurers; the drug has come under fire by health officials and government officials for its high cost.
Tesla rose nearly 1 percent, or $1.80, to $229.59, after a Morgan Stanley report said it may be the most important automaker in the world. "Tesla Motors has transformed from fledgling startup to arguably the most important car company in the world. We are not joking," analyst Adam Jones wrote.
Silicon Valley tech stocks
Up: Google, Intel, Cisco, Gilead, Juniper, Facebook, Tesla, Twitter
Down: Apple, Oracle, HP, eBay, VMware, Yahoo, Netflix, Zynga, LinkedIn
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's biggest companies: Down 7.08, or 0.47 percent, to 1,489.56
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 8.71 , or 0.20 percent, to 4,368.04.
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 25.62 or 0.16 percent, to 16,947.08.
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 3.39, or 0.17 percent, to 1,962.87.
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. Follow Mike Murphy on Twitter at twitter.com/mmmmurf.