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Tech Industry

MARKET CLOSE: Inflation jitters keep techs down

Worries about inflation sent technology shares lower to end the week.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slid 9.30 to 2,736.86, Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index dropped 32.29 to 4,924.80, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 63.95 to 10,273.00. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 0.10 to 1,282.81.

A government report showed the U.S. manufacturing sector grew at a surprisingly robust clip in September and fanned fears the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates at its monetary policy meeting on Oct. 5.

"The markets are jittery," said Peter Coolidge, senior equity trader at Brean Murray & Co. "No one wants to go too far out on the limb because we have the Fed meeting next week."

But new offerings did well. Williams Communications (NYSE: WCG) leapt 5 1/16 to 28 1/16 as the third most active stock on U.S. markets, following its IPO of 29 million shares. Also among top 10 movers was Digital Insight (Nasdaq: DGIN), which shot up 17 1/8 to 32 1/8. Vixel Corp. (Nasdaq: VIXL) climbed 23 11/16 to 41 11/16. Daleen Technologies (Nasdaq: DALN) jumped 3 7/8 to 15 7/8.

Recent IPO Broadbase Software (Nasdaq: BBSW), which makes applications for analyzing customer data, climbed 4 5/16 to 20 1/4. The company, which had been sliding for the past several sessions after going public eight days ago, recently announced a trio of Fortune 1000 wins.

Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) rebounded to finish at 42 17/32, up 23/32, after falling earlier following BancBoston Robertson Stephens' decision to downgrade to stock to "long-term attractive" from a "buy" rating.

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (NYSE: HWP) chief executive Carly Fiorina told analysts the company had a "decent shot" at meeting fourth quarter earnings estimates but saw sales growth at the low end of the forecasted 10 to 13 percent range. Shares fell 3 9/16 to 87 3/16.

Circuit maker Sipex Corp. (Nasdaq: SIPX) slid 2 5/16 to 12 after the company issued a third quarter profit warning due to a materials shortage from its Taiwan supplier.

Covad Communications Group Inc. (Nasdaq: COVD), down 4 13/16 to 38 25/32, said Friday it plans to register to sell about 13 million shares of its common stock.

Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) continued its recent gains after majority owner AT&T (NYSE: T) said it's considering options regarding the ownership of the Internet portal/service provider. Excite@Home gained 3 3/16 to 44 5/8, and AT&T dropped 1 7/8 to 41 5/8.

3D design software maker Engineering Animation Inc. (Nasdaq: EAII) plummeted 7 1/16 to 8 3/4. The company restated second quarter results and warned it would miss third quarter estimates by as much as 50 percent.

Made2Manage Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: MTMS) went down 1 1/2 to 6 5/8. The developer of business management systems for small and mid-size companies warned of a third quarter loss.

Memory chip giant Micron Technology (NYSE: MU) rose 4 7/8 to 71 3/8 ahead of Monday's scheduled quarterly report. Gruntal & Co. reiterated "near-term outperform" and "long-term outperform" ratings on the stock.>