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Tech stock rallies boost market

Strong earnings news from several technology companies and a rally by key blue chip firms help the market erase earlier losses.

Strong earnings news from several technology companies and a rally by key blue chip firms helped the market erase earlier losses in trading today.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by as much as 59.99 points this morning before rallying. The Dow was up just above 100 points or 1.28 percent, to 8,039.58 in late afternoon trading.

The latest earnings news to spur the market higher was from Apple Computer, which said it posted $106 million in profits on $1.56 billion in revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter. The company earned 68 cents per share, blowing away analysts' estimates for earnings of 49 cents per share. Apple stock, however, dipped just over a quarter percent despite the positive news.

A rally by several blue chip firms, including IBM, American Express, and General Motors helped push the index higher.

Software giant Microsoft, personal computer maker Dell Computer, and networking leader Cisco Systems helped push the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index higher after it sustained earlier losses. The Nasdaq was up 1.5 percent or 22.71 points, to 1,532.16.

Dell, Cisco, and Microsoft were three of the top four most actively traded stocks on the Nasdaq. Dell, the volume leader, was up 1.18 percent to 53.63. Cisco and Microsoft, the third and fourth most active stocks, were up 2.71 percent and 2.98 percent, respectively.

Cisco today announced that it will acquire Selsius Systems for $145 million as part of its strategy to integrate voice/data/video with its networking systems.

Intel, the second most active Nasdaq stock, however, saw its shares dip despite exceeding Wall Street earnings expectations. Intel was down less than 1 percent to 82.06.

Shares of Compaq Computer, the world's second-largest computer maker, were up 5.36 percent today after the company announced that it surpassed Wall Street estimates for its third quarter, helped by a steady demand for PCs. Compaq, however, also reported that its profits tumbled by 78 percent.

The Internet sectors mostly climbed higher riding on the coattails of the Nasdaq bellwethers. Web portals Infoseek and Lycos were registering the largest gains, up 4.43 percent and 3.64 percent, respectively.

America Online and book and music retailer Amazon.com were up 3.52 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.