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MARKET CLOSE: Dow, Nasdaq make huge gains

A better-than-expected jobs report ignited blue-chip and technology stocks Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average up 202 points while the Nasdaq composite shot up 160 points to a record close of 4,914.30.

Investors jumped in with both feet after the February jobs report detailed a weakening labor market.

"It's everything heading in the direction that (Federal Reserve Chairman Alan) Greenspan wants it to," said William Cheney, the chief economist at John Hancock Funds.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) picked up 2 3/4 to 96 1/8 while Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) closed up 6 1/2 and 2 5/16 a share, respectively.

Another batch of initial public offerings got off to fantastic starts.

Versata (Nasdaq: VATA) closed up 68 ? to 92 ? after pricing its shares at $24 each. Prime Response (Nasdaq: PRME) moved up 5 7/8 to 23 7/8 in its debut.

UTStarcom (Nasdaq: UTSI) rose 50 1/8 to 68 1/8 and AsiaInfo (Nasdaq: ASIA) jumped up 75 9/16 to 999 9/16.

Register.com (Nasdaq: RCOM), which competes with Network Solutions to register domain names, closed up 33 1/4 to 57 1/4 after it priced its shares at $24 each.

3Com Corp. (COMS) picked up 1 1/4 to 83 1/16 after Lehman Bros. said the stock could jump to $170 if the share price of Palm Inc.(Nasdaq: PALM) stays at its current level. Palm closed off 14 13/16 to 80 1/4.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) rose 4 11/16 to 137 7/16 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) shaved off 3/4 to 71.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) added 1 5/16 to 46 1/4; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) gained 1 1/8 to 27 13/16; Gateway Inc. (GTW) rose 2 to 69 5/8 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) shot up 6 to 128.

InfoSpace.com (Nasdaq: INSP) fell 1 1/4 to 259 13/16 after announcing plans to drop its "dot-com," and has set March 24 as the record date for the 2-for-1 stock split that was announced on January 31.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) moved up 3 1/16 to 158. America Online Inc. (AOL) gained 1 3/8 and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) trimmed 1/16 to 62 1/2.