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Tech stocks follow Dow higher

Technology stocks finish higher on the coattails of a healthy jump from Old Economy stocks.

Technology stocks finished higher Thursday on the coattails of a healthy jump from Old Economy stocks.

The Nasdaq composite index closed up 18.41 at 2,557.76, and the Standard & Poor's 500 finished higher by 5.30 at 1,334.22.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.60 to 10,868.76 led by Eastman Kodak, which gained $1.31, or 3 percent, to $40.19.

"There were so many losses this year that there probably aren't too many fund managers eager to buy tech stocks," said Ed Nicoski, a market strategist at investment bank U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange was a moderate 1 billion shares with advancing stocks outpacing decliners by more than a two-to-one ratio. The Nasdaq generated a respectable volume of 2.19 billion shares as 26 stocks rose for every 15 that fell.

The CNET tech index fell 25.78 to 2,028.24. Losers edged out winners, with 50 of the 97 stocks in the index falling, 41 rising and six remaining unchanged.

Most large-cap tech stocks held the Nasdaq back. JDS Uniphase fell $3.25 to $44.13; Cisco Systems lost $1.19 to $39.56; Microsoft declined $1.87 to $44.56; and Intel stumbled $1.63 to $30.94.

"It's hard to garnish much enthusiasm for the market, given all the lingering doubts over if we're going into a recession and how slow the (earnings) growth rate is going to get," said Peter Coolidge, senior equity trader at investment bank Brean Murray.

Internet e-tailers managed to finish higher. eBay closed up $2.56 at $37.81; Amazon.com inched up 50 cents to $17.38; and Freemarkets rose $3.63, or 20 percent, to $21.44.

Of the 18 sectors tracked by CNET Investor, Internet e-tailers made the largest early gains, climbing about 5 percent. Server hardware makers posted the sharpest drops, falling 2 percent each.

F5 Networks dropped $2.63, or 19 percent, to $11.13 after the company said it will miss first-quarter numbers because of a slowdown in Internet infrastructure spending.

The Internet software maker now expects a loss in the range of 48 cents to 50 cents a share on revenue of between $24 million to $26 million for the quarter, before tax and charges. Analysts surveyed by First Call expected the company to post earnings of 17 cents a share.

Nice Systems also caught some investor wrath, falling $27.50, or 61 percent, to $17.50. The Israel-based company now expects to post a loss of zero to 6 cents, excluding charges, for its fourth quarter. Wall Street previously predicted the company would make a profit of 58 cents, the consensus estimate of seven analysts polled by First Call.

Nice Systems also said revenue will come in between $39 million to $40 million. In the third quarter, the company generated a record-high $46.6 million in revenue.

The maker of multimedia digital-recording equipment attributed the shortfall to a sectorwide slump in the telecommunications and information technology markets. The slowdown caused a number of order postponements that were due to close in the quarter.

Blue Martini Software continued its explosive charge upward, rising $2.19, or 16 percent, to $15.50. The software maker said in a statement that it will work with Intel on engineering, marketing and sales activities. The stock has risen 121 percent this week.

Jabil Circuit received a boost after the Standard & Poor's index said it would add the chipmaker to the S&P 500 index. Jabil rose $2.94, or about 13 percent, to $25.94. Companies often rise when they become a member of a widely followed index. Fund managers add the stock to their index tracking funds, which are designed to mirror the performance of a specific index.