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MARKET CLOSE: Interest fears subside

Tech stocks rebounded Monday afternoon as the market shed worries about interest rates.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 78.62 to 3,607.68. The S&P 500 rose 31.40 to 1,452.36. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 198.41 to 10,807.78. Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index increased 85.05 to 4,979.88.

Investors decided an expected increase in interest rates this week is already priced into the market.The Federal Reserve is widely tipped to drive borrowing costs up by half a percentage point on Tuesday, following five quarter point increases since last June, amid concern that the economy is growing so fast that inflation is set to accelerate.

"I think that there are some investors who continue to see good values out there," said George Rodriguez, senior vice president at Guzman & Co. "There's the thought that even if the Fed comes in with a half-percentage-point hike, the market is already trading with that built in."

A few deals helped shift shares Monday; Wit Capital Group (Nasdaq: WITC), up 1 5/16 to 11 9/16, and E*Trade (Nasdaq: EGRP), up 13/16 to 20 5/8, announced they are exchanging properties as part of a strategic alliance. Among other online brokerages, TD Waterhouse Group, Inc. (NYSE: TWE) rose 1/4 to 17 15/16, Ameritrade Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: AMTD) gained 5/8 to 14 9/16, Charles Schwab & Co., (NYSE: SCH) moved up 1 7/16 to 43 3/8 and DLJ Direct (NYSE: DIR) dropped 1/16 to 10 1/16.

NetObjects Inc. (Nasdaq: NETO) jumped 1 9/16 to 12 1/4 Monday after it announced a bundling agreement with IBM (NYSE: IBM), down 5/16 to 104 1/8.

AutoNation Inc. will become the exclusive car dealer on America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL), up 3 1/8 to 58 1/2, through a multi-year deal.

Priceline.com's (Nasdaq: PCLN) rose 3/4 to 50 7/16 after it announced current president and operating chief Daniel H. Schulman will become CEO of the company in part of a reshuffling of management.

Tickets.com (Nasdaq: TIXX) slid 1/8 to 2 5/16 after it reported a first quarter loss of 30 cents a share, as its ticketing and software services revenue boomed.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) gained 9/16 to 69 3/8, after news its browser has a flaw which allows hackers to steal "cookies." Other tech bellwethers were also suffering; Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) increased 2 3/16 to 77 and Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) rose 2 3/16 to 84 5/16. Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) gained 11/16 to 50 9/16, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) moved up 1/16 to 60 and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) gained 3 1/8 to 118 1/8.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) picked up 2 5/16 to 56 1/16 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 4 5/16 to 130.

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