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Techs gain as investors eye mergers

Merger talk captivates Wall Street as Vivendi Universal announces plans to buy USA Networks.

Technology stocks moved higher Monday as the broader markets were focused on merger news and Vivendi Universal's plans to buy USA Networks.

The Nasdaq rose 34.28 at 1,987.45, and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.82 at 9,891.97. CNET's technology indexes were all in positive territory, with the exception of the storage index. Storage giant EMC fell 29 cents to $14.75.

A merger in the biotech sector also swayed the Nasdaq. Immunex was the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq after biotech giant Amgen said it would snap up the company for $16 billion in stock and cash.

French-American media conglomerate Vivendi Universal said it would buy the entertainment unit of cable channel operator and film distributor USA Networks for $10.3 billion in cash and stock. That leaves USA Interactive to focus on e-commerce, according to CEO Barry Diller. USA Networks shares rose $1.21, or 5 percent, at $25.03 while Vivendi rose $3.17, or 6 percent, at $52.12 .

In other technology news, the Nasdaq 100 Index rejiggered its lineup, ridding itself of several Internet-related stocks and adding companies in the life-science category. Five out of 13 stocks added to the index were tech related: Charter Communications, up 37 cents to $14.88; CDW Computer Centers, up $1.27 at $55.80; Symantec, up 9 cents at $67.25; Integrated Device Technology, up 75 cents at $25.45; and Synopsys, up $1.20 at $56.17.

On the earnings front, Conexant jumped 71 cents to $16.57 on news the company expects its first-quarter revenue to grow about 10 percent over last quarter's $201 million. The company cited better performance in its wireless communications unit.

Trading was halted in Take Two Interactive after the company said it will restate earnings going back to the start of fiscal year 2000 in order to eliminate sales that had been recognized as revenue even though the products were later returned or repurchased by Take Two. The Securities and Exchange Commission had already asked the video game publisher to explain its accounting, according to business magazine Barron's. Shares were halted at $14.01.

Palm, one of the tech companies dropped from the Nasdaq 100, fell 30 cents, or 9 percent, to $3.17. The company announced a deal with chipmaker Texas Instruments to power its next generation of wireless handhelds. TI shares fell 15 cents at $30.20.

Among other actively traded shares, Intel rose 70 cents at $33.97, Oracle rose 22 cents at $14.79, and Microsoft rose $1.54 at $68.98.

AOL Time Warner gained 57 cents at $33.55, Yahoo rose 65 cents at $17.86, and Amazon was down 19 cents at $10.81.

Reuters contributed to this report.