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MARKET CLOSE: Techs follow Dell down

More earnings worries drove the tech sector back into negative territory on Thursday.

After Wednesday's reprieve from a recent downward slide, the tech-infused Nasdaq Composite Index resumed its retreat on Thursday. Although some late buying softened losses, the Nasdaq ended the session down 51.44 to 3,471.66. The S&P 500 inched up 1.89 to 1,436.21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 60.30 to 10,724.18.

Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index lost 56.96 to 3,825.30.

Market watchers blamed Dell's revenue warning for re-igniting worries about tech profits.

"It's another in a long line of companies that are suggesting that business could be softer," said A.C. Moore, chief investment strategist at Dunvegan Associates. "It's certainly a hardship for companies involving PC sales."

Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) lost 3 to 25.1875.

Other companies with dire outlooks included Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) which was down 9.875 to 12.9375, after announcing that its third quarter revenue would be below expectations, and it would report a loss rather than a profit.

CDMA chipmaker Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) rose 4.4375 to 82 7/8. Chinese and foreign telecoms manufacturers recently said China Unicom, China's second largest mobile phone company, had signalled it may build narrowband CDMA networks as early as January.

Nextel (Nasdaq: NXTL) dropped 5.375 to 38.4375. The wireless telephone company said it added slightly fewer domestic subscribers in the third quarter than Wall Street had expected.

WebHouse Club, the name-your-price grocery and gasoline backed by (Nasdaq: PCLN), down 3.5625 to 5.8125, will go out of business in 90 days, the company said Thursday.

Blowing the lid off analyst estimates and getting bullish notes from Wall Street were apparently not enough to boost Micron Technology's (NYSE: MU), down 6 to 40.9375.

Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), up 0.1875 to 33.125, has signed a $1 billion deal to supply SBC Communications (NYSE: SBC), up 2.125 to 53.5625, with data, voice and access infrastructure technology.

Advanced Switching Communications (Nasdaq: ASCX) rose 3 to 18 in its IPO debut. The company priced 6.3 million shares at $15, the top of its proposed range of $13 to $15.