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Dow posts record yet again

U.S. stocks close stronger, powered by a wave of positive earnings reports from technology companies.

U.S. stocks closed stronger today powered by a wave of positive earnings reports from technology companies.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 3.26 percent to close up 78.65 points at 2,488. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to a record high close, gaining 132.87 points to 10,581.

After the close, PC giant IBM posted first-quarter earnings ahead of Wall Street estimates. For the quarter, net income was $1.5 billion, or $1.55 a share. Analysts polled by First Call projected the company would earn $1.41 a share.

Shares of IBM were higher ahead of the news. The stock closed up 2.12 at 171.87.

"Earnings reports have been pretty favorable across the board," Timothy Stevenson, a money manager for First Capital Group, told Bloomberg News. "It just looks like the market can go on [rising] for a long while.'"

Earlier today, Compaq posted first-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, which was about half of what Wall Street had originally forecast. As reported, the company laced its report with candid and harsh statements about its earnings.

Compaq sustained a rise throughout the day, closing up .25 at 24.25. While other PC hardware stocks were mixed at the open, most closed in positive territory. Shares of Apple rose .31 to 34.37, and Dell rose .25 to 38.43. Gateway jumped 4.25 to 65.75, and Hewlett Packard gained 2.62 to 74.

Shares of Qualcomm, manufacturer of cell phones and network equipment, surged 8.71 percent, leading the Nasdaq to its powerful gains. Yesterday, the company posted second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The company said there was strong demand for phones and the chips that run them, according to Bloomberg.

Qualcomm said its profit from operations for the quarter rose to $65.2 million, or 82 cents a share, up from $18.6 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier. The company was expected to earn 59 cents a share, according to analysts polled by First Call. Qualcomm gained 54.43 to 195.06.

Communications-equipment maker Lucent is slated to report earnings before tomorrow's market open. As reported, Lucent today teamed up with e.Digital and Texas Instruments to develop a handheld Internet music device that will compete with MP3 systems. Lucent closed up 8.9 percent, gaining 4.87 to 59.12.

Microsoft spent most of the trading day in the red. The software giant reported a third-quarter profit of 35 cents a share, beating the projected 32 cents from analysts surveyed First Call, but the company's conservative management team said it remains "guarded" concerning 1999 growth, given looming year 2000-related issues that could stymie technology spending in the short term.

PC software stocks were mostly mixed in the afternoon. Corel and Symantec were in the red, while Intuit and Adobe Systems cruised higher. Shares of Corel fell .12 to 3.12, and Symantec lost .25 to 17.75. Intuit gained 3 to 83, and Adobe rose .93 to 59.75.

Internet stocks continued its bullish run. Internet Yahoo, Infoseek, and America Online all traded stronger. At the close, shares of Yahoo jumped 3.87 to 174.87, Infoseek rose 8.31, or 16 percent, to 58.87, and AOL shares gained 13.31 to 142.