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Nasdaq hovers below 2,000

Oracle's fourth-quarter report inspires a rally in the enterprise software sector, but it isn't enough to hold the Nasdaq above the critical level.

Oracle's fourth-quarter report inspired a rally in the enterprise software sector, but it wasn't enough to hold the Nasdaq above the 2,000 mark Tuesday.

The Nasdaq rose 4.03 points to 1,992.66. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 48.71 points to 10,596.67.

The most actively traded stock, Oracle rose $1.92, or 13 percent, to $16.76.

The company's shares rallied Tuesday despite a mediocre fourth-quarter report Monday after the bell--one analyst pointed out that it was Oracle's worst quarter in 10 years.

But news that the company had topped First Call's earnings estimate of 14 cents a share by a penny was enough to invoke some upgrades for Oracle and boost its competitors. Siebel Systems gained $3.41 to $41.70 on an upgrade. SAP was up $2.51 to $35.39, BEA Systems was up 63 cents to $29.07, and Microsoft rose $1.23 to $68.11. The CNET Server Software index gained 6 percent.

"Oracle is good news in the sense that it takes negative pressure off the market and (the company) said things are better than they could have been," said Andrew Abrams, who helps manage hedge funds at CWH Associates in New York.

Stock in high-speed Internet provider Excite@Home tumbled 32 cents, or 14 percent, to $1.90 ahead of a conference call to detail certain undisclosed "recent developments at the company."

Communications company Qwest Communications International also gave investors something to cheer about. The company said it continues to see strong demand for its services and still expects to meet its 2001 revenue and earnings targets. Shares rose $1.45 to $31.27.

The most actively traded loser Tuesday was Exodus Communications, dropping 78 cents, or 22 percent, to $2.84. The stock added to Monday's lossesafter a downgrade from Morgan Stanley. Metromedia Fiber Network also lost 49 cents to $1.61.

Among other technology bellwethers, Cisco Systems rose 14 cents to $16.64, and Intel fell 88 cents to $26.67. was off 47 cents to $11.36, AOL Time Warner rose 4 cents to $49.84, and Yahoo gained 25 cents to $15.56.

Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.