MARKET CLOSE: Nasdaq flies past 3,000 mark

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Technology investors finally kicked the door in Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite closed up 46 points to an all-time high of 3,027.84. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 27 points to 10,609.06.

Most of the Nasdaq's gains were made by a handful of stocks including Qualcomm, Oracle and some of the leading Internet issues.

It also helped that U.S. factory orders fell 0.9 percent in September, further than expected. It was the index's first drop in five months, as orders for transportation products plunged. The conference board also said its index of leading indicators slipped 0.1 percent, a little more than the flat reading economists had expected.

"It looks like technology is going nuts," said William Cheney, the chief economist at John Hancock Funds. "There is some technology weakness heading into Y2K, but it's clear that business investment is still hot and technology is where it's at."

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) shot up 35 11/16 to 260 1/2 after topping analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter and setting a 4-for-1 stock split.

Oracle Corp (ORCL) closed up 4 5/16 to 57 5/16 after it and Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) announced a joint venture to create an Internet network linking the No. 2 U.S. auto maker with its 30,000 suppliers Tuesday. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) lost 9/16 to 92 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) charged up 2 7/8 to 106 9/16.

Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) rose 13/16 to 42. Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) lost 1/8 to 18 13/16 while Gateway Inc. (GTW) and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) added 1 5/16 and 1 1/4 a share, respectively.

Internet stocks generally enjoyed a banner day.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) picked up 2 5/8 to 180 5/8. America Online Inc. (AOL) shot up 5 _ to 138 7/8. Lycos Inc. (LCOS) rose 3 1/2 to 54 5/8 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) shed 5/8 and 2 5/16 a share, respectively. Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) closed unchanged at 38 3/8.

Be Free Inc. (Nasdaq: BFRE) rocketed up 17 to 29 after it pricing its 5.6-million share initial public offering at $12 each.

Xoom.com Inc. (XMCM) rose 1/4 to 64 after announcing it has scheduled a meeting Nov. 24 for stockholders to vote on the proposed NBC Internet, Inc. (NBCi) transactions that have been in the works since May.

Winstar Communications, Inc. (WCII) gained 3 11/16 to 44 1/16 after it racked up a third quarter net loss of $179 million, or $3.28 a share, but handily beat First Call's expected loss of $3.44 a share.

Commerce One (CMRC) hustled up 46 15/16 to 254 on news of a deal with General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) to link its suppliers, dealers and other businesses in a "virtual marketplace" for products, raw materials, parts and services.

Networking stocks weren't as fortunate as Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) gained 21/32 to 65 5/16 but Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and 3Com Corp. (COMS) lost 2 and 9/16 a share, respectively.

Intel Corp. (INTC) closed up 2 1/16 to 79 1/2. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) lopped off 3/8 to 94 7/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) closed up 3/4 to 21 5/16.