Blue-chip stocks made decent gains Wednesday, lifting the Dow Jones industrial average 108 points to 10,936.93 while the tech-laden Nasdaq composite only moved up 11 points to 2,750.81.
In economic news, the nation's leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in July, on target with economists' estimates of continued growth. Seven out of the 10 indicators in the index that gauges future economic activity rose, according to the Conference Board. The two key drivers were manufacturing and the labor market.
"The focus is going to be on rates and economic data that comes out that could affect the rates," said Ron Doran, director of institutional trading at C.L. King and Associates. "Half the world's on vacation in the next two days."
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) shares trimmed 3/16 to 92 3/8 while Oracle Corp. (ORCL) shot up 1 3/16 to 37 11/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) inched up 1/4 to 79 3/4.
IDT Corp. (IDTC) fell 11/16 to 28 15/16 after announcing a new rate of 5 cents per minute for domestic long distance telephone service with a $3.95 monthly fee.
Intel Corp. (INTC) picked up 1 1/4 to 83 7/16 after announcing it was creating a $200 million fund to invest in networking and communications companies in an effort to boost support for its Internet Exchange architecture.
Intel said separately that it was acquiring NetBoost, a hardware and software maker that will work with Intel on tools used to support the IX Architecture. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) lost 13/16 to 19 7/8 and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) closed up 2 11/16 to 127 1/4.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) fell 15/16 to 47 7/8; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) trimmed 3/32 to 23 1/16; Gateway Inc. (GTW) dropped 1 1/16 to 95 7/8 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed up 3 3/8 to 68 5/8.
The online brokerage market will lead the financial services sector in growth, but lag in customer service, according to a new report from Jupiter Communications. E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) slid 13/16 to 24 3/16 while DLJ Direct (DIR) and Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) dipped 3/16 and 1/16 a share, respectively.
MMC Networks (MMCN) plunged 3 3/4 to 26 3/4 after shedding 19 1/8 points Tuesday. The maker of networking equipment said fourth-quarter and fiscal 2000 revenue might be dented by the strategic pact between IBM and Cisco Systems.
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) sawed off 4 3/16 to 143 5/16. Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) shed 1 7/8 to 38 1/4 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and America Online Inc. (AOL) lost 5 5/16 and 7/16 a share, respectively.