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MARKET CLOSE: Weak dollar keeps stocks in check

Weakness in the U.S. dollar and a rising trade deficit conspired to keep stocks lower Thursday. The Dow fell 28 points to 10,963.84 while the Nasdaq added 36 points to 2,621.43 in relatively light trading.

The U.S. trade deficit rose to $24.6 billion from $21.2 billion in May, which was revised downward from the $21.3 billion first reported. The June trade gap was about 20 percent above the $20.5 billion expected by economists polled by Reuters.

"This is follow through from yesterday," said Bill Meehan, the chief market analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in Darien, Conn. "The recent rally we had was an oversold bounce, and that's done with."

The news compounded fears of the dollar's decline against the yen. The dollar traded at a seven-month low against the strengthening yen, and the euro got a boost from a new survey showing higher confidence in Germany.

Internet stocks gave back Wednesday's gains as Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) fell 5 7/8 to 139 3/16 and America Online Inc. (AOL) lost 3 1/2 to 95 11/16. Inc. (AMZN) dropped 7 to 106 1/8 while Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) and Lycos Inc. (LCOS) shaved off 2 13/16 and 3 1/16 a share, respectively. Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) ended off 1 1/4 to 32.

Wink Communications Inc. (WINK) shot up 19 11/16 to 35 11/16 in its debut after pricing 4.75 million shares at $16 a piece.

HeadHunter.Net Inc. (HHNT) moved up 3/16 to 10 3/16 in its first trading day.

LookSmart Inc. (Proposed ticker: LOOK) avoided the rocky markets again and dropped the number of shares it planned to sell in an initial public offering to 9 million common shares from 12 million, the Internet directory company said on Thursday.

ADC Telecommunications (ADCT) plunged 3 7/16 to 40 7/16 after it topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter Wednesday, earning $52 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $444 million. Analysts attributed the fall to missed revenue estimates, and lower R&D expenses, as well as a delayed AT&T contract.

Convergent Communications Inc. (CONV), a recently public data and voice communications services provider, fell 1 1/4 to 11 7/16 on news that chief financial officer John J. Phibbs resigned.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) lost 11/16 to 43 7/8; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) added 9/16 to 24 1/16; Gateway Inc. (GTW) trimmed 1 3/4 to 89 1/4 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed off 1 3/8 to 58 3/4.

Intel Corp. (INTC) dropped 13/16 to 77 5/16 and IBM Corp. (IBM) lost 1 1/8 to 122 3/4.