The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 89.34 points to 10,789.04. In the morning, the Dow had edged closer to 11,000, rising as high as 10,931. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index bounded back from an afternoon dip, rising 14.41 points to 2542.85.
Shares of MediaOne closed up 2.25 at 81.63. Earlier today the cable operator, facing takeover offers from both Comcast and AT&T, said it has signed confidentiality agreements that could lead to merger discussions with America Online and Microsoft.
Shares of AOL rose 1.38 to close at 142.75, and Microsoft slipped .75 to 81.31.
After opening strong, Internet stocks wavered throughout the day but were mostly up by day's end. Amazon.com rose 3.81 to 172.06, Lycos advanced 8.31 to 99.69, and Infoseek edged .06 higher to 51.06. Yahoo fell .31 to 174.69, while Excite rose 2.38 to 146.
In the computing sector, PC hardware stocks were mixed, but they gained ground after a three-day slump. Computer giant IBM climbed 4.38 to 209.19, Apple gained 3 to 46, and Gateway slipped .44 to 66.19.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard rose slightly after Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich upped his second-quarter estimate for the company's earnings to 83 cents per share from 79 cents per share, citing improving momentum in the second half of the year, according to Bloomberg. HP closed up .5 at 78.88.
Yesterday, software maker Computer Associates said it expects fourth-quarter profit to be in line with analysts' forecasts and sales to climb by about 11 percent. Computer Associates said it expects to earn 83 cents a share, higher than the 81-cent-per-share average forecast by analysts polled by First Call. The company's shares rose .31 to 42.69.
Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report.