Jenrick IT (the specialist IT contract and permanent recruiters) are continuing to report above forecast contract numbers for January 2010. “January is well above forecast for contract numbers and we have also seen a welcome return of permanent vacancies within the IT sector, which is very encouraging. All people have to do is view our jobs page to see the activity”Philip Fanthom (Managing Director – Jenrick IT) This encouraging start to the year for IT contracting was also borne out by very positive IT stock reports from Reuters – SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp's (INTC.O) fourth-quarter results roared past Wall Street forecasts and it gave a bullish margin outlook on higher prices and firm demand for server chips, reinforcing hopes for a strong recovery in technology. Intel, whose stock extended gains after rising 2.5 percent in regular trading, said on Thursday its gross profit margin in the fourth quarter rose to a record 65 percent. While it forecast a drop to 59 percent to 63 percent in the typically weaker current quarter, that still surpassed analysts' average projection of 58.8 percent. "That will alleviate a lot of the concerns people had over whether the surge in buying at the end of the year was one that was going to peter out," said FTN Equity Capital Markets analyst Joanne Feeney. "That will have a positive spillover to other stocks" on Friday. Some technology stocks rallied after-hours on the news. Intel chip rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.N) gained 1.7 percent, while Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) climbed nearly 1 percent. Japan's Nikkei average hit a 15-month high, lifted by tech shares such as chip equipment supplier Advantest (A65q.DE). Many analysts predict a return of corporate spending in the second half of 2010 that would lift the tech sector out of its worst downturn in decades. Some say new spending has already begun. "The big picture is that tech remains investable," said Wedbush Morgan's Patrick Wang. "They're giving us reassurance that the PC sector remains intact and more importantly, that we're seeing incremental improvements in the economy and that we're probably well on our way to recovery." "What they did on the gross margin line was extremely impressive, which was due to the massive upside in revenue."