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Dow closes just shy of 9,900

Boosted by bullish excitement, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slices through two milestones, cracking 9,800 and then 9,900 before closing a shade under 9,900.

    Boosted by bullish excitement, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliced through two milestones today, cracking 9,800 and then 9,900 in one fell swoop before closing a shade under 9,900.

    Optimism over the robust U.S. economy yanked the index within striking distance of the 10,000 milestone.

    The Dow soared 124.6 points or 1.27 percent, to 9,897.44. The blue chip climbed as much as 162.62 to hit 9,935.46. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index pulled back from strong gains to post a 6.24-point or 1.29-percent rise to close at 2,412.25. The index climbed as much as 31.38 points earlier today.

    "There was a little euphoria out there today," said Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Company. "People may have also gotten a bit nervous for a while, since every point we move up now is a new high."

    But technology stocks, which have long been the leaders of the bull market, were pressured by some jitters ahead of an earnings report from Oracle due after the market closed. The database giant closed down 2.8 percent.

    3Com and Intel posted solid gains, rising 6.09 percent and 1.07 percent, respectively. America Online and Yahoo climbed 3.37 percent and 3.01 percent, respectively.

    The second most heavily traded issue on the Nasdaq market headed straight down and never recovered today. Communications services firm Brightpoint plunged more than 54 percent after it said it expects first-quarter and fiscal year revenues and net income to fall short of expectations.

    Apple Computer fell 1.15 percent, while Dell Computer and Compaq Computer dipped 3.32 percent and 3.17 percent.

    Reuters contributed to this report.