Technology stocks retreated a bit Thursday as blue-chip offerings battled through a day of seesaw trading. The Dow Jones industrial average trimmed 5 points to 11,028.02 while the Nasdaq composite lost 30 points to end at 4,039.48.
"The market clearly has been momentum-driven," said Joseph Barthel, chief investment strategist at Fahnestock & Co. "But I'm not certain that we can really point to one event or a sequence of events creating this volatility. Earnings have been better than expected and all of this I think helps, but next week the market will take a quick dose of reality when the Fed meets."
The economy is still booming and the labor market is tight, judging by orders for durable goods, which surged 4.1 percent in December, well above expectations. The number of Americans filing for first-time jobless benefits rose just 1,000 to 266,000, last week, a historically low figure.
A couple of big-name Internet stocks made decent gains as America Online Inc. (AOL) gained 1 15/16 to 61 7/8 and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) rose 8 13/16 to 337 3/8. Lycos Inc. (LCOS) clipped 3/8 to 78 1/8 while Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) and eBay Inc. (EBAY) gained 5/16 and 3/8 a share, respectively. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) shot up 2 1/8 to 66 15/16.
Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) lost 2 13/16 to 37 9/16 after it warned of a shortfall Wednesday. Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) closed off 7/8 to 28 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) shed 3/16 to 110. Gateway Inc. (GTW) moved up 1 7/8 to 60 7/8.
Extensity Inc., (Nasdaq: EXTN), an employee productivity software maker, rocketed up 51 1/4, or 256 percent, to 71 1/4 in its initial public offering.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) slid 5/8 to 98 3/4 while Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) dropped 3 1/4 and 1 11/16 a share, respectively.
SanDisk Corp. (Nasdaq: SNDK) jumped 43 5/8 to 140 3/8 after the company reported strong fourth quarter results and a 2-for-1 stock split.
PRI Automation (Nasdaq: PRIA) shed 3 7/16 to 75 7/16 after it posted a profit, but lost a CFO.
EToys (Nasdaq: ETYS) closed off 4 3/8 to 16 7/8 after it met Wall Street estimates Thursday with a fiscal third quarter operating loss of $62.5 million, or 51 cents a share, as sales jumped 366 percent to $107 million.
Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) sawed off 2 1/8 to 64 1/8 after it topped Wall Street estimates Thursday with a fourth quarter operating loss of $12.9 million, or 6 cents a share.
Intel Corp. (INTC) gained 1 5/8 to 98 1/8. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) closed unchanged at 37 and IBM Corp. (IBM) lopped off 3 3/16 to 113 9/16.