Markets mixed on tech push

U.S. stocks close mixed today, with a sputtering blue chip rally pulling the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower, but tech stocks lifting Nasdaq.

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U.S. stocks closed mixed today, with a blue chip rally sputtering and pulling the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower, while technology stocks helped push the Nasdaq Composite Index higher.

The Dow moved from falling as much as 44.28 points to gaining 68.75, before closing down 20.08 points, or just less than a quarter percent, at 8,432.21. The closely watched index has now declined for two straight days. The Nasdaq, however, continued marching higher, rising 31.13 points or 1.84 percent to 1,724.99.

The Dow fell despite strong earnings news from AT&T and better-than-expected news from American Express. Shares of the long-distance giant edged higher by .78 percent after the company beat Wall Street estimates by 5 cents, posting net operating earnings of 1 per share.

On the Nasdaq market, shares of online auctioneer eBay moved 46.38 percent higher after Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an influential investment bank, initiated coverage of the company with a "buy" rating. The company's stock rose 23.25 points to 73.38. When eBay went public last month, its stock soared 164 percent on its first day of trading.

Rival auctioneer Onsale also soared today, rising 21.31 percent to 18.5 after the company this morning announced its site had received its 8 millionth bid.

Other Internet stocks also rode higher on eBay's coattails, including Web portals Excite and Infoseek, which jumped 11.7 percent and 10.95 percent, respectively.

CNET: The Computer Network (the publisher of News.com), closed up 5.25 points at 44.25, before reporting third-quarter profits of $3.7 million, or 21 cents a share. Excluding extraordinary income and losses, the company would have posted a loss of $1.6 million, or 9 cents a share, which would have topped analysts' consensus expectations of a loss of 12 cents a share.

Other stocks pushing the Nasdaq up higher were Dell Computer, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and Intel.

Dell, the most actively traded stock this afternoon, climbed 7.3 percent to 62.5. Cisco and Microsoft, the second- and third-most-traded stocks, rose 4.58 percent and .65 percent, respectively. Intel edged up 1.93 percent.