Tech stocks fuel market

Technology stocks end strong, leading the market higher despite a government economic report that sees some rough water ahead.

2 min read
A report released by the Federal Reserve this afternoon dampened a strong rally led by technology stocks, but both the Dow and Nasdaq managed to close in positive territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared as much as 148 this afternoon before shedding some of its gains. But the blue chip index still managed to close up 76.99 to 8,783.14. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 35.28 or nearly two percent, to close at 1,823.71.

Both indices retreated from their highs today after the Fed released its "Beige book" report on the state of economy.

The report noted that the pace of economic expansion slowed in September and October amid signs of a decline in several sectors, including manufacturing and retail sales. The report also said that most areas continued to experience strong demand for business loans, but that increased "uncertainty about economic conditions made lenders more cautious."

Of the ten most actively traded stocks on the Nasdaq market today, eight were gainers. Intel, the second most active, jumped 4.91 percent higher to 94.81, with 27.3 million shares traded.

Cisco Systems closed 3.45 percent higher in anticipation of its earnings report after the market close. The networking giant beat consensus estimates of 33 cents, reporting pro forma earnings of $559 million or 34 cents per share for the first quarter. Cisco shares were the third most heavily traded stock on the Nasdaq today, with 21.4 million shares trading hands.

Dell Computer, the fourth most active, closed up 1.75 percent, with 19.7 shares traded.

K-Tel, which rocked 96 percent higher yesterday on the news that it will operate a cobranded online music store with Playboy, continued to surge today. The stock climbed another 12.74 percent to 14.94.

Shares of telecommunications equipment maker Ciena continued to fall, having dropped 16.33 percent yesterday following news of an equipment deal with Enron that investors didn't look too favorably on.

On the big board, six of the ten most actively traded stocks posted gains--and all six were technology issues.

Shares of Iomega, the most active stock on the New York Stock Exchange, jumped 14.29 percent to 8 with 23.3 million shares traded. Direct-marketing giant Cendant climbed 3.26 percent on its earning news.

America Online gained 5.99 percent, and Compaq Computer climbed 0.6 percent.

Hard-drive maker Seagate rose 7.22 percent to 29.69 after investment bank Gruntal upgraded the firm to "strong buy" from "hold," with a 12-month price target of $36 per share. Gruntal said the company is starting to focus on its core business, and plans to shed its unprofitable units.

The market may have gotten a boost today from the strong Democratic showing in yesterday's elections--which may dampen a Republican drive over the presidential impeachment issue.

Strong overseas markets may also helped push the market higher today. Japan's Nikkei Index jumped a whopping 4.12 percent, up 575.06 points to close at 14,527.81. Hong Kong's Hang Seng also fared well, rising 149.73 or 1.45 percent to 10,508.25.