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MARKET CLOSE: Dow, Nasdaq move higher

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The Nasdaq composite closed up 18 points to 2,557.58 Thursday in light trading while the Dow Jones industrial average added 66 points to finish at 10,868.76.

``They are basically putting together some judgments about next year,'' said Barry Hyman, chief investment strategist for Weatherly Securities. “People are just straightening out their portfolios ... getting rid of their losers.”

Investors couldn’t have been encouraged by Thursday’s report that U.S. consumer confidence sank to its lowest level in two years, according to the Conference Board, a private research group.

``The economic data today continues to point to weakness. We saw that in consumer confidence falling to a two-year low,'' said Peter Cardillo, director of research at New York-based Westfalia Investments.

Applied Materials (AMAT) shares fell 13 cents to $39.44 after A.G. Edwards downgraded the stock. Novellus Systems (NVLS) added $1.19 to $37.25 and Lam Research (LRCX) gained 69 cents to $15.19.

F5 Networks (FFIV) lopped off $2.63 to $11.13 after warning that sales and earnings will miss analysts’ estimates this quarter.

Intel (INTC) lost $1.63 to $30.94. IBM (IBM) moved up 56 cents to $82.25 and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) clipped 38 cents to close at $14.25.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell (DELL) trimmed 6 cents to $17.94; Apple Computer (AAPL) closed unchanged at $14.81; Gateway (GTW) picked up 40 cents to $18.89 and Compaq (CPQ) closed off 39 cents to $15.60.

Applied Microsystems (APMC) shaved off 19 cents to $2.75 after announcing it will lay off 8 percent of its work force.

Yahoo! (YHOO) moved up $1.25 to $31.

America Online (AOL) slid 50 cents to $35.25 while eBay (EBAY) and Amazon.com (AMZN) rose $2.56 and 50 cents a share, respectively. CMGI (CMGI) chopped off 6 cents to $6.03.
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