Nasdaq inches up before Fed meeting

Investors get a taste of good economic news, but it's only a prelude to the interest-rate cut widely expected to happen Tuesday.

Investors got a taste of good economic news Monday, but it was only a prelude to the interest-rate cut widely expected to happen Tuesday.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 14.34 points, to 1,881.35, and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 79.29 points, to 10,320.07.

Though the tech-heavy index managed to recover some of Friday's 3 percent plunge, shares still hovered below the 1,900 mark. Investors may be holding back ahead of Tuesday's Federal Reserve meeting, in which the Fed is expected to lower interest rates for the seventh time this year in an attempt to stimulate the sagging economy.

As investors awaited Tuesday's Fed meeting, a key gauge of the economy showed signs that a recovery could be ahead. The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in July, in line with expectations and steady with the previous month.

"The signal from the composite index is that economic conditions, sluggish through the entire half of the year, could begin to make way for a better economy this fall," the board's chief economist, Ken Goldstein, said in a statement.

In company news, a filing from Excite@Home raised the probability that the company could file for bankruptcy. The Internet access company said it may not be able to continue operations, especially if the Nasdaq Stock Market delists its shares. Shares plunged 40 cents to 47 cents.

Another big decliner on the Nasdaq was Extreme Networks, down around 27 percent, or $5.95, to $16.50. An analyst downgraded the company, saying estimates for the switching market are overstated and that Extreme Networks stands to suffer from competition with Cisco Systems.

Ciena also fell on a downgrade. Shares lost 69 cents, to $18.09, after Lehman Brothers cut its rating to "market perform" from "strong buy."

RF Micro Devices was up $2.33, or 11 percent, to $25.56 after news it is shipping its power amplifiers to Ericsson for use in the mobile-phone maker's handsets. Ericsson shares were up 6 cents, to $4.98.

Among other heavily traded techs, Intel rose 13 cents, to $28.20, Microsoft gained 82 cents, to $62.70, Oracle rose 9 cents, to $14.81, Cisco rose 29 cents, to $16.90, and Sun Microsystems rose 30 cents to $14.33.

Amazon.com gained 41 cents, to $10.40, AOL Time Warner gained 51 cents, to $40.21, and Yahoo rose 41 cents, to $14.46.

Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.

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