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Earnings, rate cut boost investor confidence

The Nasdaq composite posts its second triple-digit gain in several days after tech bellwethers post better-than-expected quarterly results.

Technology stocks took flight in late trading Thursday, sending the Nasdaq composite up 103 points, or 5 percent, to close at 2,182.02.

The Dow Jones industrial average scampered up 78 points to finish at 10,693.58.

"The market's beginning to buy the scenario that the interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve are going to help," Gregory Nie, technical analyst at First Union Securities, told Reuters. "We've successfully navigated earnings so far, although a lot of Wall Street's expectations had been lowered coming into this."

IBM's shares rallied up $7.97 to $114.47 after its outlook for 2001 renewed enthusiasm for the tech sector, and Wall Street analysts cheered the company's first-quarter results. Goldman Sachs added the stock to its "recommended list."

Intel moved up $1.20 to $32.48, and Advanced Micro Devices picked up $1.16 to finish at $29.01.

Microsoft gained $2.59 to $68.02, while Oracle and Sun Microsystems rose $2.39 and $2.13 a share, respectively.

Siebel Systems rose $12.46 to $46.44 despite analysts' lowered estimates and management's cautions that tough times lay ahead. Siebel topped the Street's estimates by a penny a share in its first quarter.

Storage company EMC matched analysts' lowered expectations for the first quarter and reiterated its outlook for 20 percent sales growth for 2001, sending its stock up 6 percent shortly after the opening bell. Its shares gained $6.15 to $42.81.

America Online Time Warner added 90 cents to $49.90. Yahoo rose $1.38 to $20. lost 55 cents to $15.99, and eBay charged up $4.24 to $49.99.

Apple Computer hustled up $2.93 to $25.72 after it topped reduced estimates in its second quarter. But analysts were split on the company's future, with some questioning its ability to stay on top of expectations.

Dell Computer moved up $2.02 to $30.49. Gateway rose 72 cents to $18.02, and Compaq Computer finished up $1.36 to $21.86.

Cisco Systems rose $1 to $18.93, while Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks closed up $1.47 and 35 cents a share, respectively.

Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.