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MARKET CLOSE: Dow, Nasdaq cool their heels

A little turmoil in South America gave investors a good enough excuse to take some profits Tuesday as the Dow Jones industrial average fell 26 points to 11,175.02 while the Nasdaq shed 12 points to close at 2,778.20.

Stocks in Argentina were rattled for the second day, and the selling spilled over to Brazilian stocks. Investors were shaken by Argentina's increasing political unrest, which has highlighted the depth of the country's economic recession.

"Don't cry for me Argentina," said James Volk, co-director of institutional trading at D.A. Davidson & Co. "Because the markets are setting new highs people are using any excuse for profit taking and Argentina is the excuse du jour." Inc.'s (CHINA) initial public offering came off without a hitch Tuesday, surging up 46 5/8 to 66 5/8. CommTouch Software Ltd. (CTCH)

Shares of online music retailer CDNow Inc. (CDNW) closed off 1 15/16 to 20 5/16 after the company said it will merge with Columbia House, which is jointly owned by Sony Corp. (SNE) and Time Warner (TWX). Inc. (AMZN) jumped 8 7/16 to 125 13/16 after launching a new toy store and an electronics store. Online toy store eToys (ETYS), off 1 23/32 to 40 3/16, just yesterday announced it would get into the business of selling children's books online.

Excite@Home (ATHM) lost 1 9/16 to 49 15/16 after announcing plans to acquire e-commerce provider iMALL, Inc. (IMAL) in a stock swap valued near $425 million. iMall fell 5/16 to 22.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) shares shot up 6 11/16 to 156 15/16 and Lycos Inc. (LCOS) lost 3 1/16 to 99 15/16.

Intel Corp. (INTC) trimmed 1/16 to 65 3/8 ahead of its second quarter earnings report. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) dropped 5/16 to 17 1/16 and IBM Corp. (IBM) closed up 1/16 to 137 7/8.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) fell 1 3/8 to 42 1/4; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) shed 3/16 to 26 1/4; Gateway Inc. (GTW) lost 1 7/16 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed off 13/16 to 53 11/16.