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MARKET CLOSE: Techs take off ahead of jobs data

Investors snapped up technology shares Thursday following some encouraging economic news suggesting the economy is beginning to slow a bit. The Nasdaq composite shot up 182 points to 3,582.46 while the Dow moved up 130 points to close at 10.652.20.

The National Association of Purchasing Management report showed May manufacturing activity dropped more than expected, with its prices paid component -- a measure of inflation -- dipping sharply. The U.S. Commerce Department also reported construction spending declined 0.6 percent in April.

While that's a step in the right direction, traders are more concerned with Friday's employment figures.

"It's the big daddy," said Thomas McManus, equity market strategist for Banc of America Securities, of Friday's jobs figures. "But I think we're going to need to see a lot more evidence of slowing to keep the Fed from raising interest rates 50 basis points at the meeting later this month."

Hewlett Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) made huge gains, surging up 14 5/16 to 134 1/2, after telling analysts that sales will jump 15 percent this year and earnings will either meet or beat estimates.

Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) inched up 1/16 to 43 3/16. Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) moved up 5 1/8 to 89 1/8 while Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) and Gateway Inc. (GTW) fell 5/16 and 1/2 a share, respectively.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) tacked on 2 to 64 9/16 after Goldman Sachs analyst Rick Sherlund said the stock could recover some of its "lost ground" as its antitrust battle heads into the appeals process.

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) charged up 5 15/16 to 77 13/16 while Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) added 4 and 6 1/16 a share, respectively.

After putting off its pricing for more than a week, fiber optic networking company ONI Systems (Nasdaq: ONIS) finally priced its 8 million shares at $25. The stock surged up 57 9/16, or 230 percent, to 82 9/16.

Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML) gained 1 13/16 to 40 after announcing it will supply Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) with chips for its sixth-generation CDMA chipsets. Qualcomm shares rose 2 5/8 to 69 after China Unicom, said its plans to build a network powered by Qualcomm's CDMA technology are still on track, according to a report in China Daily.

PurchasePro.com (Nasdaq: PPRO) gained 1 13/16 to 23 /16 after it announced a deal with Hilton Hotels (NYSE: HLT), down 1/8 to 8 3/8, to create a network for the hospitality industry and establish the industry's largest purchasing exchange. Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC) picked up 5 7/32 to 41 and Ariba (Nasdaq: ARBA) closed up 6 3/4 to 58 7/8.

Internet stocks made strong gains as well, led by Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) which closed up 7 to 120 1/16. America Online Inc. (AOL) lopped 1/2 to 52 7/8 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and eBay Inc. (EBAY) rose 1 7/8 and 4 13/16 a share, respectively. Lycos Inc. (LCOS) tacked on 3 3/4 to 64 1/4.

Intel Corp. (INTC) picked up 5 to 129 11/16. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) gained 1 7/8 to 83 5/8 and IBM Corp. (IBM) slid 1 5/16 to 106. >