Microsoft shares jumped 5 percent on Thursday, helping the Nasdaq higher, on renewed investor optimism over personal computer spending and its new Internet browser.
The jump made up for a 4 percent dip in the stock on Wednesday, as arch rival Apple Inc. surpassed Microsoft's market value for the first time since 1989, making the iPhone maker the world's most valuable tech company.
Speaking in India, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said he was not concerned with the reversal and was focused on making profits.
FBR Capital Markets raised its rating on Microsoft to "outperform" from "market perform" early on Thursday, citing a strong corporate PC refresh cycle that should benefit the company throughout 2011.
In London, a Microsoft executive talked up the prospects for the next version of its Internet Explorer browser, due out next year, which could win back share from rivals Google Inc. and Mozilla Firefox.
Microsoft shares rose $1.20, or 4.8 percent, to $26.22 in late morning trading on Nasdaq. The shares were still down 14 percent so far this year, compared with a less-than 1 percent drop in the Nasdaq.
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