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Market hits record high

Technology stocks and the wider market take off and never look back after strong employment data sparks a rally amid fading fears that the Federal Reserve might increase interest rates.

    Technology stocks and the wider market blasted higher at the opening bell today and never looked back after strong employment data sparked a rally amid fading fears that the Federal Reserve would increase interest rates.

    The Labor Department today released data that showed a payroll growth of 275,000 jobs and a small rise in the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent from January's 4.3 percent.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high of 9,736.08, surpassing the high of 9,647.96 set earlier this year. The blue chip soared 268.68 points or 2.84 percent today. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rocketed 45.38 points, or 1.98 percent, to 2,338.27.

    "Clearly this is a big relief rally for the market," said Fred Levin, director of research at Aubrey G. Lanston & Company. "The report takes the Fed out of the picture for March--even for adopting a tightening bias."

    Amazon.com edged 1.14 percent higher, America Online climbed 0.58 percent, Yahoo soared 5.49 percent, Lycos dropped 1.5 percent, and eBay surged 14.09 percent higher.

    Dell Computer continued yesterday's climb, rising another 5.11 percent, while its rival Compaq Computer, which was battered yesterday, gained 2.44 percent.

    Shares of networking chipmaker Level One Communications burst their seams today after the company was acquired yesterday by Intel for $2.2 billion. Level One stock soared 65.9 percent, while Intel climbed 1.1 percent.

    Reuters contributed to this report.