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Tech stocks up, others mixed

The Nasdaq climbs on solid performances by tech stocks, while blue chips zigzag despite coordinated interest rate cuts by European banks.

The Nasdaq Index climbed higher on a solid performance by technology stocks, while blue chips zigzagged in early trading despite the news of coordinated interest rate cuts by major European central banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped as much as 62.82 and rose as much as 18.03 this morning. The blue chip index was down 32.18 points or 0.36 percent to 9,032.36. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 12.96 points or 0.65 percent to 2,008.17.

Several European central banks, including the German Bundesbank, the Bank of France, and the Bank of Spain, cut key interest rates, hoping to spark economic growth. Other countries that cut rates include Italy, Ireland, Finland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

Technology stocks helped push the Nasdaq Index higher, with nine of the top ten movers heading up.

Shares of 8x8, a supplier of multimedia communication technology and systems, shot through the roof today after the company announced that Samsung is using 8x8 technology for its WebPhone. The stock climbed 48 percent, and was the top mover on the Nasdaq market with 6.4 million shares traded early.

Dell Computer jumped 1.61 percent and was the second most-actively traded issue on the Nasdaq market. Dell's major rival Compaq Computer also climbed 1.54 percent higher and was the top mover on the New York Stock Exchange with 6.7 million shares changing hands.

Other issues headed higher on the Nasdaq market include Intel, which jumped 1.75 percent; Applied Materials, which climbed 2.57 percent; Sun Microsystems, which rose 2.02 percent; and Cisco Systems, which moved up 1.28 percent.

Web portal Excite got a boost today after influential investment bank Merrill Lynch raised its outlook on the company to "near-term accumulate" from "near-term neutral." Shares of Excite soared 7.72 percent. Riding Excite's coattails today, rival portals Yahoo and Lycos climbed 2.44 percent and 5.53 percent, respectively.

Speaking yesterday at a conference dubbed "Innovation and Opportunity in the Digital Age," Microsoft chairman and chief executive Bill Gates said, "We have seen incredible levels of investments in this country in new and unproven things.

"And even though some of these Internet valuations will certainly be proven to be excessive, the basic idea of accelerating investment into this new area is a fantastic thing," Gates added.

Online computer products retailer continued to slide after its meteoric rise last week, falling 8.38 percent in early trading.

Micron Technology headed higher after Credit Suisse First Boston raised the company's outlook to "strong buy" from "buy." The stock soared 8.88 percent and was the second most-active issue on the NYSE with 3.4 million shares traded.