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MARKET CLOSE: Internets lead tech rally

Technology stocks gained ground again Wednesday, sending the Nasdaq composite up 53 points to 2,805.63. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 43 points to finish at another record close of 11,326.04.

Orders for durable goods jumped to $204 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, the Commerce Department said. Putting them ahead by a strong 3.3 percent in July, above economists' expectations for a rise of 1 percent.

Following the Fed's expected one-quarter point increase in short-term interest rates, investors had a chance to relax and pick up some beaten down Internet stocks.

"The market just has a very favorable tone. The Fed's gotten out of the way and the market can focus on earnings," said Guy Truicko, portfolio manager at Unity Management. "Breadth is still not that great. It looks like the money is all in the technology stocks. It's a narrow rally." Inc. (AMZN) rallied up 12 13/16 to 132 7/8 while Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) and America Online Inc. (AOL) shot up 5 5/8 and 4 5/16 a share, respectively. Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) tacked on 1 1/8 to close at 32 1/2 while Lycos Inc. (LCOS) and Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) finished up 1 9/16 and 7/8 a share, respectively.

Net2Phone Inc. (NTOP) stormed up 17 to 70 1/8 Wednesday after it said that Sprint Corp. (FON), the No. 3 U.S. long distance phone company, would hold market trials of its technology and network for phone calls to Asia.

iTurf Inc. (TURF) closed unchanged at 14 3/16 after it posted a second-quarter net loss Tuesday of $1.8 million, or 10 cents a share. Though its earnings make the grade compared to the loss of 13 cents a share expected by First Call, iTurf may be chasing its upstart competitor Alloy Online Inc. (ALOY), which closed off 7/16 to 14 5/16.

Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) rose 2 5/8 to 49. Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) added 1/2 and 1 a share, respectively, while Gateway Inc. (GTW) moved up 1 11/16 to 98 11/16.

Newbridge Networks Corp. (NN) picked up 1 5/16 to 28 7/8 after it skipped past analysts' estimates in its first quarter Tuesday, posting a profit of 18 cents a share, on sales of C$495 million. The network-equipment maker to earn 16 cents a share in the quarter.

Among other prominent network-equipment stocks, Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) added 2 1/4 to 68 5/8; Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) tacked on 2 13/16 to 68 1/4 and 3Com Corp. (COMS) inched up 3/16 to close at 23 7/8.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) continued its strong run-up of late, adding 3 1/8 to 95 5/16. Oracle Corp. (ORCL) closed unchanged at 36 15/16 while Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) ended up 2 5/16 to 76 5/16.