MARKET CLOSE: Calm before the storm

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Internet stocks faired well in sluggish trading Monday ahead of tomorrow's Fed meeting but the Dow Jones industrial average still trimmed 9 points to 10,760.75. The Nasdaq composite shed 2 points to close at 3,219.42.

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan dropped no hints on monetary policy in his remarks prepared for delivery to an insurance group Monday.

"The trend is still up for sure, but that could be short circuited tomorrow," said Barry Hyman, the market strategist for Ehrenkrantz, King Nussbaum Inc. "It's just the Internets. Everyday it's the Internets. I've never seen so many $300 stocks in my life."

Online brokerage stocks enjoyed healthy gains after forming venture capital firms to form an online investment bank to which will bring Internet and technology IPOs to their customers. TD Waterhouse Group, Inc. (TWE) picked up 2 3/8 to 19. Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) rose 4 1/2 to 26 7/16 while Charles Schwab & Co. (SCH) and E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) added 3/8 and 1 3/8 a share, respectively. Night/Trimark (NITE) closed up 6 1/4 to 45 1/4.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) rallied up 8 1/16 to 205. America Online Inc. (AOL) added 7/8 to 149 3/8 while Lycos Inc. (LCOS) and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) shot up 15/16 and 13/16 a share, respectively. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) lost 1 7/16 and Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) fell 1/2 to 44 1/16.

Red Hat, Inc. (RHAT) gained 3 9/16 to 105 3/8 after announcing it will buy privately-held Cygnus Solutions for about $674 million in a move to accelerate the adoption of Red Hat Linux.

Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) moved up 3 5/16 to 59 15/16 after it and Ford Motor Co. said they will test-market a "name-your-own-price" online buying option for new Fords in Florida this week.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) trimmed 7/8 to 40 7/8; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) shed 7/16 to 21 9/16; Gateway Inc. (GTW) added 1 to 82 1/2 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) fell 1 3/16 to 89 7/16.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) fell 2 3/16 to 87 after CEO Bill Gates showed off his company's new scaled-down Internet appliance to a standing-room crowd at the Comdex computer trade show.

PairGain Technologies, Inc. (PAIR) picked up 15/16 to 15 3/4 after announcing it will sell its microelectronics design group of about 40 engineers, and take a charge of $2.5 million in the fourth quarter associated with the move.

Intel Corp. (INTC) slid 2 1/8 to 74 1/16. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) lost 1 to 25 9/16 and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) closed off 1 15/16 to 93 15/16.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) dipped 11/16 to 82 3/4. 3Com Corp. (COMS) rose 1 1/8 to 34 1/2 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) closed up 1 5/8 to 74 1/8.