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MARKET CLOSE: Techs can&#039t pull out of free fall

Technology stocks were battered again Tuesday, pushing the Nasdaq composite down 200 points to 3,164.43, its lowest close so far this year. The Dow Jones industrial average didn't fare much better, falling 120 points to 10.422.27.

"I don't have a good idea about where we're going to come out of this thing until we start to get some economic data that gives us a handle on what the Fed's course of action will be," said Bill Meehan, chief market analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. "It's both worries about the inflation scenario and also concerns about what is a reasonable valuation for some of these large-cap tech stocks'' that is hurting the market.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) closed off 4 23/32 to 50 17/32. 3Com Corp. (COMS) dropped 2 7/8 to 39 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) moved up 5/16 to 54 13/16. Nortel Networks (NT) closed off 3 9/16 to 48 1/16.

Global Crossing Ltd. (Nasdaq: GBLX) shed 4 13/32 to 23 5/8 after it announced its subsidiary filed a lawsuit against Tyco Submarine Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC). Tyco shares slid 1 11/16 to 52 1/16.

The day's IPO, Integrated Circuit Systems (Nasdaq: ICST) fell 1 to 12 after pricing shares at $13 each, well below its range of $15 to $17 each.

Quintus (Nasdaq: QNTS) trimmed 5/16 to 8 1/2 after it announced a reseller, marketing and technology alliance with Siebel Systems (Nasdaq: SEBL), which finished down 13 3/4 to 99 1/2.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) shaved off 1 to 63 3/16 while Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) ended down 7 7/8 and 5 5/16 a share, respectively.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) lost 2 to 43 15/16; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) fell 7/16 to 26 1/2; Gateway Inc. (GTW) dropped 1/8 to 47 1/4 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed off 4 3/16 to 85 3/4.

Even the chip stocks were roughed up as Intel Corp. (INTC) plunged 8 1/2 to 109 7/8 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) lopped off 5 to 75 1/2.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) dipped 7 15/16 to 118 5/16. America Online Inc. (AOL) slid 1 3/4 to 50 1/4 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and eBay Inc. (EBAY) tumbled 5 3/16 and 20 3/16 a share, respectively.>