With the Nasdaq 100 recently hitting a new high and Apple expected to continue Silicon Valley's strong run of results, it's no surprise that tech has emerged as the star of this earnings season.



NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With the Nasdaq 100 recently hitting a new 11-year high and Apple(:AAPL) expected to continue Silicon Valley's strong run of results on Tuesday, it's no surprise that tech has emerged as the star of this earnings season.

Last week, for example, IBM(:IBM), Microsoft(:MSFT) and Intel(:INTC) highlighted strong enterprise spending on hardware and software, as well as robust demand in emerging markets. Chip maker Texas Instruments(:TXN) continued this positive trend with better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Monday. Crucially, the component maker also called a bottom to the recent downturn in IT spending.

"We believe that we're there," said Kevin March, the Texas Instruments CFO, in an interview. "We either hit the bottom in the fourth quarter, or we're very near it and will hit it in the first quarter -- consequently, we're readying ourselves for a resumption of growth."

March explained that his company saw a sharp increase in demand from its customers during the last two weeks of December. "We saw it across all our product families and all the major markets that we serve," he added. "Our expectation is that we will begin to see sequential revenue growth resume in the next quarter or so."

Storage giant EMC(:EMC) continued the upbeat tech vibe on Tuesday, posting record fourth-quarter revenue and profit, thanks partly to its push into cloud computing. The Hopkinton, Mass.-based firm, which is rumored to provide technology infrastructure for Apple's iCloud, also offered healthy 2012 guidance, sending its shares up almost 6% in Tuesday's trading.

"We believe the company's better-than-expected December results (despite rampant bear chatter over the last few months) and healthy 2012 outlook are positive indicators for EMC, as well as a good barometer for the current IT spending environment," noted Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, in a note released on Thursday.

EMC's results came hot on the heels of strong numbers from its VMware(:VMW), subsidiary, which has itself been touted as a stock likely to benefit from an additional round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE3.

Shares of EMC's storage rival NetApp(:NTAP) were up almost 1% on Thursday. Software giant Oracle(:ORCL), which has been charging hard into cloud technology, was up 0.74%.

Away from the hardware market, Wall Street has also looked favorably on the robust software spending highlighted last week by tech bellwether IBM. "The overall software spending trend for 2012 appears stable," noted Rick Sherlund, an analyst at Nomura Securities, in a recent note. "IBM's outlook for the software space for 2012 is not suggestive of a more difficult macro environment or more difficult year."

German software giant SAP(:SAP), he added, struck a similarly bullish tone after showing 17% software license growth in the fourth quarter.

Tech heavyweights yet to report include AMD(:AMD), which posts after market close on Tuesday, and security specialist Symantec(:SYMC), which reports its third-quarter results on Wednesday. Dell(:DELL), HP(:HPQ) and Cisco(:CSCO) are on deck for next month.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.