The Dow Jones industrial average closed barely unchanged, up 0.23 points to 10,526.81.
After losing ground in early trading, tech stocks battled their way to positive territory in early afternoon trading before giving back those gains in the final hour.
"The trend is still down," said Guy Truicko, equity portfolio manager at Unity Management. Tech stocks "have been getting pummeled for a week, so the fact that they bounced doesn't mean a whole lot. It just means maybe some guys were covering shorts, or some investors are taking advantage of the lower prices."
Microsoft fell $1.06 to $55.19. Oracle rose 38 cents to $23.38, and Sun Microsystems picked up $1.19 to $20.81.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer moved up $1.31 to $21.94; Gateway lost 67 cents to $17.58; Apple Computer dropped 6 cents to $18.81 and Compaq Computer edged up 44 cents to $21.44.
Yahoo lost $2.13 to close at $24. Amazon.com closed unchanged at $11.94, while eBay and CMGI dropped $1.13 and 9 cents a share, respectively. America Online Time Warner rose 50 cents to $44.90.
Citing an "uncertain U.S. economic climate," data-storage giant EMC toned down its sales growth projections for 2001. EMC said it still expects to meet its $12 billion revenue target for 2001, but added that it would grow sales 25 percent to 35 percent for the year. The stock dropped $2.60 to $40.35.
Brocade Communications Systems fell $2.75 to $41.94 after analysts downgraded the stock following a tepid outlook. McData tumbled $2.61 to $22.63, and Network Appliance fell 50 cents to $33.81.
Siemens said on Thursday it had agreed to buy U.S.-based Efficient Networks, up $10.69 to $23.06, in a deal valued at $1.5 billion. The acquisition bolsters the German company's position in the broadband access arena.
Cisco Systems tacked on $1.31 to $26.44. Lucent Technologies added 93 cents to $12.53, and Nortel Networks closed up 79 cents to $19.94.
Intel dropped 75 cents to $30. Advanced Micro Devices fell $2 to $21, and IBM gained $1.39 to $108.90.
Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.