MARKET CLOSE: Techs close out strong week on high note

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Technology stocks closed out the abbreviated trading week with healthy gains Thursday as the Nasdaq composite marched up 63 points to finish at 1,961.47, up 14 percent for the week.

The Dow Jones industrial average hustled up 113 points to close at 10,126.94 despite some less-than-stellar economic news. The stock markets will be closed for Good Friday.

"I think people are still waking up to the fact that we're in a profits recession and that profits are going to be disappointing for a variety of firms," Mark Vitner, economist and vice president at First Union, told Reuters. "Then we have economic numbers out this morning. That shows we're not out of the woods."

The Commerce Department issued retail sales figures for March that were weaker than expected, while the Labor Department said 392,000 workers applied for initial unemployment benefits in the week ended April 7, a rise of 9,000 from the previous week and the highest level since March 30, 1996, when claims reached 397,000.

Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) shot up $7.71 to $50.47 after posting a seven-fold increase in earnings on strong sales. But it also warned that its 2001 sales and earnings would fall below expectations due to the slowing economy and reduced equipment spending by customers.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) added 58 cents to $17.98. Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) gained 15 cents to $7.43, and Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) picked up $2.12 to $16.60.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) moved up $1.18 to $27.92, Gateway (NYSE: GTW) rose 95 cents to $15.95, Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) tacked on 94 cents to $18.60 and Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL) finished up 62 cents to $22.42.

Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) added $1.10 to $16.96 after topping estimates in its first quarter and announcing it would lay off 12 percent of its staff.

America Online Time Warner (NYSE: AOL) charged up $1.02 to $42.22. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) rose $1.35 and $2.02 a share, respectively, while CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI) closed up 15 cents to $2.75.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) picked up 61 cents to $28.13. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) rose $1.22 to $24.73, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) clipped $1.23 to finish at $96.20. All three companies report first-quarter earnings next week.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) gained $2.14 to $62.18. Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) inched up 29 cents to $15.82, and Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) ended up 78 cents to $17.09.

ZDII staff and Reuters contributed to this roundup.