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MARKET CLOSE: Tech rally lifts spirits

Technology stocks finally resumed a leadership role Tuesday as the Nasdaq composite stormed up 178 points to 3,369.55 while the Dow Jones industrial average shot up 135 points to finish at 10,971.44.

After more than three months of steady losses, it appears investors are ready to jump back into leading technology issues.

"We're seeing a recovery of the technology sector that's been beaten up so badly," said Chris Dickerson, an analyst with Global Market Strategists. "There's no doubt a lot of this is going to be bargain hunting. There's a lot of money on the sidelines wanting to come in."

Network-equipment firms made strong gains on the heels of Alcatel's (ALA), up $5.25 to $62.38, strong third-quarter earnings report.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) added $5.81 to $53.88 while Nortel Networks (NT) and JDS Uniphase (JDSU) closed up $5.50 and $10.06 a share, respectively.

Rambus (Nasdaq: RMBS) tumbled $8.50 to $44.94 on concerns that Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), off 17 cents to $44.83, was dropping support for its products.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) added $2.38 to $22.63 and IBM (IBM) moved up $5.19 to $98.50.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell (DELL) rose 69 cents to $29.50; Apple Computer (AAPL) tacked on 25 cents to $19.56; Gateway (GTW) added $1.01 to $51.61 and Compaq Computer (CPQ) closed up 6 cents to $30.41.

Harmonic (Nasdaq: HLIT) shot up $4.50 to $14.50 after it announced that AT&T Corp.'s (NYSE: T) Broadband unit will buy its optical nodes and DWDM transmission platforms from for use in cable plant upgrades throughout the United States.

Microsoft (MSFT) shares slid 19 cents to $68.88. Sun Microsystems (SUNW) shot up $6.88 to $110.88 and Oracle (ORCL) finished up $1.38 to $33.

iXL Enterprises Inc. (Nasdaq: IIXL) clipped 9 cents to $2.56 after it missed analysts' estimates in its third quarter, posting a loss of $52 million, or 69 cents per share, excluding charges, on sales of $87.8 million. First Call consensus was for a 14 cent per share loss.

America Online (AOL) gained $2.75 to $50.50 while Yahoo! (YHOO) and Amazon.com (AMZN) gained $6 and $3.75 a share, respectively. eBay (EBAY) rose $2.25 to $51.50.

Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE) rose $3.75 to $12.81 after the company posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the first quarter Monday night. CIBC, Prudential, and Legg Mason Wood Walker all raised or reiterated ratings on the stock.

Chip-equipment stocks enjoyed strong gains as Applied Materials (AMAT) jumped $3.50 to $53.13 and Lam Research (LRCX) closed up $1.56 to $19.38.