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MARKET CLOSE: Techs cling to gains

Technology stocks clung to their gains Thursday despite the tepid response to earnings and economic news. The Nasdaq rose 27.20 points to 2,193.64.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 32.66 points to 11,248.58.

In economic news, one report showed a stronger job market than Wall Street had expected. Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said. New claims for state unemployment benefits fell to 380,000 last week from a revised 388,000 the prior week. The number of new claims has dropped for two straight weeks after hitting its highest level in five years.

A report on leading economic indicators, a gauge that forecasts the economy's direction six months out, showed little change last month. The indicator rose 0.1 percent in April, according to the Conference Board, a private research group.

Optical switch maker Tellium rose $4.93, or 40 percent, to $20.93 on its first day of trading.

Investors are looking forward to quarterly reports from Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL), up 50 cents to $25.88, Agilent (NYSE: A), up 22 cents to $38.72, and Analog Devices, up $1.23 to $48.40, all of which report after the closing bell.

Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN), fell $2.15 to $56.75 after gaining earlier in the day. The company handily topped Wall Street estimates Thursday with second-quarter earnings of $65.40 million, or 20 cents a share, excluding one-time items. The company said it was comfortable with Wall Street estimates for future quarters and promoted Chief Operating Officer Gary Smith to CEO.

Other stocks related to the communications equipment sector that fell from earlier advances included those from Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR), off $4.43 to $53.46; JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU), which was still up 48 cents to $21.51; and Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) gained 17 cents to close at $14.06.

Hewlett-Packard was up $3.96 to $30.70 after it earned a bit more than predicted in the second quarter and said it is comfortable with current estimates for the third quarter.

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) said it is sticking to its targets for flat fourth-quarter earnings, but tipped demand would begin to bounce back by the end of 2001. Shares fell 28 cents to $16.12. (Nasdaq: AMZN) was up 65 cents to $14.78, AOL Time Warner (NYSE: AOL) rose 78 cents to $53.82 and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 47 cents to $19.85.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) fell 14 cents to $19.86, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) rose 24 cents to $28.60, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose $1.00 to $68.16 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) fell 28 cents to $16.12.

ZDII staff and Reuters contributed to this roundup.