MARKET CLOSE: Chip, software stocks carry Nasdaq to new record

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Chip, chip-equipment and software stocks were all jumping Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite surged up 37 points to an all-time high of 2,815.06. The Dow fell 27 points to 11,1148.10 despite some positive economic reports.

The Labor Department reported the Producer Price Index fell 0.1 percent for June, lower than the expected rise of 0.1 percent. It was the first drop in the PPI since February's 0.5 percent decrease. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.1 percent in June, falling short of the expected 0.3 percent gain.

Still some analysts weren't sold on the market's overall health.

"There were a couple of sell programs going on," said Ned Collins, head of trading at Daiwa Securities. "The market is doing what it has to do and this market is extremely overextended."

Intel Corp. (INTC) hustled up 2 5/8 to 68 even though it missed analysts' estimates in its second quarter. Investors were encouraged by Intel's optimism for the third quarter and the fiscal year results.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) picked up 1 1/2 to 18 9/16 ahead of its earnings report and IBM Corp. (IBM) lost 7/16 to 137 7/16.

Motorola Inc. (MOT) slipped 1 7/16 to 95 1/16 after it easily topped analysts' estimates in its second quarter.

Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) shot up 1 1/4 to 43 1/2 while Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) and Gateway Inc. (GTW) added 1 13/16 and 4 7/8 a share, respectively. Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed up 2 1/4 to 55 15/16 ahead of its third-quarter results.

TIBCO Software Inc. (TIBX) closed up 17 3/8 to 32 3/8 in its initial public offering.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) moved up 1 5/16 to 94 15/16. Oracle Corp. (ORCL) trimmed 5/8 to 38 1/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) rose 1 1/2 to 75.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) closed up 8 7/8 to 135 after it acquired 49 percent of Gear.com, a retailer which specializes in discounting name-brand goods.

Adding to merger mania, Egghead.com Inc. (EGGS)said it will merge with Onsale Inc. (ONSL) in a stock swap valued at $400 million. Egghead.com shares fell 5/16 to 11 3/4 while Onsale dropped 1 1/2 to 21.

Among other widely held Internet stocks, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) added 2 1/2 to 159 7/16; Lycos Inc. (LCOS) rose 2 11/16 to 102 5/8; America Online Inc. (AOL) fell 1 3/16 to 123 15/16 and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) closed up 1 1/4 to 44 3/4.

PairGain Technologies Inc. (PAIR) lost 1 to 10 9/16 after it missed analysts' estimates for the second consecutive quarter.