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Techs ride on high hopes for Cisco

Technology stocks outpace blue chips with a little help from Cisco Systems after Morgan Stanley issues an upgrade on the networking giant.

Technology stocks outpaced blue chips Tuesday with a little help from Cisco Systems. The Nasdaq rose 24.37 to 2,197.94, and the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 52.12 to 10,883.05.

While a downgrade for American Express dragged the Dow into the red, Cisco helped keep the Nasdaq above water. Economic news was released Tuesday, but the report--on worker productivity, which showed that worker output per hour fell at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the quarter--appeared to have little significance for the markets.

Shares of networking giant Cisco gained $1.11 to $20.36 on an upgrade from Morgan Stanley before the company's earnings report. Analysts expected Cisco to report a humdrum quarter but observed that its enterprise business is improving.

IBM, up $1.94 to $117.70, also rose ahead of its upcoming analyst meeting. Wall Street is expecting IBM to give an upbeat presentation Thursday, which could be CEO Lou Gerstner's swan song.

Shares of Ciena, up $6.32 to $61.60, also put in big gains. They rose after TyCom announced it would use the fiber-optic company's products in a new undersea optical network.

Dell Computer shed $1.11 to $24.80. It announced Monday that it will eliminate 3,000 to 4,000 jobs during the next two quarters as it retrenches amid tough times.

Cable television operator and sports team owner Cablevision Systems fell $4.94 to $59.56. It disappointed Wall Street by saying it would spend more than expected to upgrade its systems, as it reported higher first-quarter profits.

Spanish Internet company Terra Lycos, up 43 cents to $9.06, is cutting 15 percent of its workers in an effort to trim costs after posting quarterly revenue that fell short of Wall Street expectations.

U.S. cable company Comcast, down $1.05 to $44.45, posted improved first-quarter results, boosted by a jump in subscribers for digital cable and high-speed Internet access. It also raised its expectations for its cable growth for the full year. lost 74 cents to $16.18, AOL Time Warner slipped 17 cents to $51.93, and Yahoo shed 24 cents to $19.74.

Intel gained 25 cents to $31.41, Microsoft rose 68 cents to $72.06, and Oracle rose 13 cents to $17.

Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.