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MARKET CLOSE: Blue-chip stocks get a boost

Blue-chip stocks made decent gains in light trading ahead of the three-day, holiday weekend Thursday as the Dow Jones industrial average moved up 169 points to close at 10,844.05. The Nasdaq composite closed off 63 points to 3,643.81.

"The market today is just taking a rest and people are going to try to get bearings," said Dick Stein, chief technical analyst at Noble International Investments. "The market has got to get a proper footing at this point. There is no sign the economy is slowing. There are an awful lot of people still playing the market because they can't get to Vegas or Atlantic City. And the big problem is people's expectations have gotten to unrealistic points."

Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) fell 2 3/16 to 118 15/16 after it handily beat estimates in its latest quarter. Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) added 3/8 to 49 15/16 while Gateway Inc. (GTW) and Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) trimmed 1/16 and 1/8 a share, respectively.

CNET (Nasdaq: CNET) bounded up 6 9/16, or 21 percent, to 38 1/16 after the company posted a profit for its first quarter and got some upgrades.

Among other widely held Internet stocks, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) dropped 2 3/4 to 123 1/8; America Online Inc. (AOL) shaved off 1 1/2 to 60 1/4; Lycos Inc. (LCOS) fell 1 15/16 to 36 1/16; Inc. (AMZN) trimmed 1 1/16 to 52 3/8 and Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) tumbled 2 to 17 15/16 after missing estimates in its latest quarter.

Metricom (Nasdaq: MCOM) shed 6 7/16 to 27 5/8 after it said its first-quarter loss widened, and it may face rollout delays in New York.

Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) said its board of directors approved a 2-for-1 stock split, payable on May 22 to stockholders of record on May 1. Its shares moved up 2 to 145.

Intel Corp. (INTC) lost 3 11/16 to 115 3/8. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) gained 3 3/8 to 78 5/8 and IBM Corp. (IBM) closed off 1 to 104.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) added 1/4 to 78 15/16 ahead of its third-quarter results. Oracle Corp. (ORCL) lost 3 3/4 to 70 13/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) closed off 1 to 87 3/4.