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MARKET CLOSE: Tech stocks take a beating

Interest-rate anxiety pushed technology stocks lower Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite shed 121 points to close at 4,056.08. The Dow Jones industrial average shaved off 44 points to finish at 10,696.08.

Wednesday's steep loses came despite some strong earnings from tech bellwethers such as Intel, Microsoft and Apple Computer.

Investors are awaiting Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday for clues to what the Fed will do with interest rates next.

"I am not surprised in general that the trend is quickly developing that the market is not reacting to positive earnings," said Barry Hyman, market strategist for Ehrenkrantz, King Nussbaum Inc. "I believe there is concern about Federal Reserve policy coming into the Greenspan speech."

Dell (DELL) shares closed off 1 13/16 to 51 3/8. Apple (AAPL) lost 4 9/16 to 52 11/16 despite topping estimates by a penny a share in its latest quarter. Gateway (GTW) inched up 1/8 to 63 5/8 and Compaq (CPQ) closed off 7/8 to 27 1/2.

Microsoft (MSFT) shares fell 5 5/16 to 73 3/16 after it beat the Street by 2 cents a share in the quarter. Oracle (ORCL) closed off 5/16 to 73 7/8 and Sun Microsystems (SUNW) ended down 1 3/8 to 93 15/16.

Data storage giant EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) shot up 4 1/2 to 83 1/16 after it beat Wall Street's consensus estimates Wednesday with second quarter earnings of $429 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $2.15 billion.

Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB) announced Wednesday that earnings for its second quarter were 39 cents a share, topping First Call's consensus estimate of 37 cents a share. Its shares closed off 5 1/16 to 68 3/16.

Intel (INTC) shares lost 4 7/8 to 138 1/8 after it beat Street estimates by a penny a share in its latest quarter. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) closed up 15/16 to 91 15/16 ahead of its earnings report. IBM (IBM) moved up 3/16 to 103 1/2.

Yahoo! (YHOO) managed to gain 4 1/16 to 134 while eBay (EBAY) and America Online (AOL) lost 5/8 and 1 1/2 a share, respectively. Lycos (LCOS) trimmed 1/16 to 52 15/16 and (AMZN) picked up 11/16 to 32 1/2. (Nasdaq: SPRT), a provider of web-based software that offers self-service IT support, rallied up 18 5/8, or 133 percent, to 32 5/8 in its initial public offering.