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MARKET CLOSE: IBM drags Dow lower; Nasdaq holds ground

IBM's disappointing earnings report took its toll on the Dow Thursday, but after falling more than 200 points in early trading it battled back to close off only 95 points to 10,297.69. With the notable exception of mainframe software stocks, techs managed to gain ground as the Nasdaq rose 13 points to 2,801.12.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) shares fell 15 5/8, or 15 percent, to 91 3/8 after warning that Y2K concerns would dent future earnings.

Fellow software developers BMC Software Inc. (BMCS) and Compuware Corp. (CPWR) were punished as well as they closed off 7 3/16 and 3 9/16 a share, respectively.

"I think at other times, (IBM) would have gotten a down gap of 2 or 3 points, but we don't do anything in moderation these days," said Trude Latimer, an independent stock broker in Charlottesville, Va.

On the bright side, Gateway Inc. (GTW) shares shot up 10 to 62 after topping third-quarter earnings estimates and unveiling a distribution pact with AOL.

Among other widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) fell 1/2 to 39 1/2; Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) moved up 1 to 76 1/8 and Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) lost 1 3/16 to end at 19.

Aether Systems (Nasdaq: AETH) shot up 32 7/16, or 203 percent, to 48 7/16 in its initial public offering.

America Online Inc. (AOL) shares charged up 4 1/8 to 122 1/8 after beating Street estimates in its first quarter. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) rose 1/4 to 80 3/4 ahead of its earnings report while Lycos Inc. (LCOS) and Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) fell 1 7/32 and 2 11/16 a share, respectively. Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) added 1 25/32 to 181 15/16 and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) closed off 7/16 to 29.

Critical Path (Nasdaq: CPTH) tumbled 3 to 47 after it reported a smaller than expected third quarter operating loss and said it would acquire profitable competitor ISOCOR (Nasdaq: ICOR) in a stock swap valued at $287 million. ISOCOR shares finished up 7 1/4 to 17 3/8.

Intel Corp. (INTC) rose 1 3/4 to 71 11/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) gained 1 7/8 to 18 7/8.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) picked up 13/16 to 93 1/16. Oracle Corp. (ORCL) moved up 7/16 to 45 3/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) dropped 3 7/16 to 92 7/8.

GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE) lost 7/8 to 72 1/2 after it posted third quarter results that beat expectations. AT&T Corp. (T) shed 5/8 to 43 1/4.