Stocks closed lower on Wall Street today after registering 100-point-plus gains for two days straight.
The run-up helped Asian markets stem their downward spiral and make some big gains today, but U.S. markets dipped slightly. The Japanese benchmark, the Nikkei index, rose 342.55 points to 15,406.34--a 2.27 percent gain. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 5.71 percent, gaining 411.66 points to close at 7622.58.
Fears of an Asian decline continue to have an impact, but analysts doubt that the Dow will fall more than 50 to 100 points as a result. Rather, they predict that it will continue a steady rise to the 9,000 level.
A better-than-expected earnings report from Dell Computer sent the company's stock higher.
The direct-sales computer retailer rose nearly 8 percent to 117.94 on the strength of its earnings report yesterday, while Apple Computer dipped despite riding high during the past few days on the news that its new consumer-oriented iMac is surpassing all sales expectations. The stock closed down nearly 3 percent at 41.31. Apple hit a high of 43.38 after sales of the iMac took off right out of the gate.
Netscape Communications, for its part, moved lower today even after posting better-than-expected earnings yesterday. The stock closed down 2.53 percent at 31.31. Netscape shares were upgraded to "accumulate" after yesterday's report by Deutsch Bank Securities analyst Alan Braverman.
Web portal Lycos will announce its most recent quarterly earnings after the market closes today. The stock closed 2 percent higher at 69.38 in anticipation of its report. The company's shares have traded as high as 107.25 and as low as 19 during the past 52 weeks.