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MARKET CLOSE: Techs, blue chips drift lower

Technology stocks lost ground in light trading Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite fell 58 points to 3,401.07. Even some decent economic news couldn't lift the blue-chip sector as the Dow trimmed 5 points to close at 10,521.99.

"Today's reaction is a follow-through from yesterday where there is some pleasure that stocks would go up so strong and some disappointment that they went up so fast without much participation," said Arnold Berman, technology strategist at Wit SoundView.

New home sales fell 5.8 percent in April to an annual rate of 909,000, compared with the revised 965,000 annual rate in March, according to the Commerce Department. The Conference Board's Leading Indicators Index fell 0.1 percent in April, compared with expectations of a slight rise.

At this point, it appears as though the Federal Reserve Board will only raise interest rates by another quarter-point in the foreseeable future.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) dropped 7/8 to 43 1/8; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) shed 3/8 to 26 1/4; Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) lost 3 9/16 to 84 and Gateway Inc. (GTW) fell 3 1/8 to close at 49 1/2.

Shares in Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) plunged 10 to 66 3/8 on news that the company's mobile phone technology will not be adopted in China.

After only a month as president and CEO of NICE Systems (Nasdaq: NICE), Moshe Ronen has decided to leave the company. Its shares finished off 3 1/4 to 58 7/8.

Lucent (NYSE: LU) shaved off 3/8 to 57 3/8 after it confirmed reports it will acquire Chromatis Networks Wednesday, announcing a stock transaction worth about $4.5 billion.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) lopped of 2 7/8 to 57 and 3Com Corp. (COMS) ended down 5/8 to 41 13/16.

Flextronics (Nasdaq: FLEX) rose 4 3/8 to 54 7/16 after it said it will supply and manufacture components and complete units included in Motorola's (NYSE: MOT), down 2 15/16 to 93 1/2, communications products.

FatBrain (Nasdaq: FATB) gained 1 5/16 to 6 9/16 after said its first quarter sales would be strong.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) trimmed 3 15/16 to 113 1/16 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and eBay Inc. (EBAY) shed 3 7/16 and 4 15/32 a share, respectively. America Online Inc. (AOL) dipped 3/8 to 53 and Lycos Inc. (LCOS) slid 3 1/2 to 60 1/2.

Intel Corp. (INTC) slipped 1 1/16 to 124 11/16. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) chopped off 4 9/16 to 81 7/16 and IBM Corp. (IBM) closed off 3 5/8 to 107 5/16.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) lopped off 7/8 to 62 1/2 while Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) ended off 3 3/8 and 2 3/8 a share, respectively. >