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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

MARKET CLOSE: Employment data stymies Wall Street

Stronger-than-expected employment data held stocks down Friday as the Dow Jones industrial average shed 80 points to 10,714.03 while the Nasdaq shaved off 18 points to close at 2,548.20.

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls increased 310,000 in July, soundly topping expectations of a 199,400 gain, according to a Reuters' poll of economists. Average hourly wages climbed 0.45 percent, compared with forecasts of a 0.3 percent rise. The unemployment rate matched expectations, holding steady at 4.3 percent.

Those figures have investors all but guaranteeing an interest-rate hike later this month.

"The mood changes in milliseconds," said Alan Ackerman, a senior vice president and market strategist at Fahnestock & Co. "We're in a vulnerable and volatile market."

Chip and chip-equipment stocks enjoyed strong gains Friday after the Semiconductor Industry Association said June sales improved 13 percent versus the year-ago period, with sales into Asia growing 20 percent.

Motorola Inc. (MOT) moved up 3/4 to 88 3/4 while LSI Logic Corp. (LSI) and Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) picked up 1 1/2 and 2 1/4 a share, respectively. Intel Corp. (INTC) inched up 1/8 to 71 9/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) added 1 5/16 to 17 7/16.

Internet stocks could maintain the momentum they gathered Thursday as Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) fell 7 11/16 to 89 9/16 and Lycos Inc. (LCOS) dropped 1 1/4 to 34 1/16.

eBay Inc. (EBAY) plunged 9 5/8 to 83 1/4 after users were unable due to another service outage.

America Online Inc. (AOL) inched up 9/16 to 84 1/2 after signing deals to provide co-branded versions of its Instant Messenger for nationwide ISPs Earthlink Network Inc. (ELNK) and MindSpring Enterprises Inc. (MSPG). Earthlink closed up 4 1/2 to 41 9/16 while MindSpring gained 2 13/16 to 28 13/16.

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) erased some early gains to close off 1 7/16 to 126 15/16 even though Goldman Sachs updated its "recommend list" to include the Web portal operator.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) fell 5/8 to 85 1/8 while Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) lost 7/16 and 1 a share, respectively.

Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) closed up 1 1/16 to 39 13/16. Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) trimmed 1/16 to 22 13/16 and Gateway Inc. (GTW) dipped 3/16 to 75 1/8. Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed off 5/8 to 54 1/8.