Let's be frank. This back-and-forth oscillation with the market appears to be here to stay. For a while anyway.

After rallying into a 50-point rate hike by the

Federal Reserve

, the technology sector was back on the defensive today. Recently, the

Nasdaq Composite

was down 53.39 points, or 1.4%, to 3664.18, far off its worst level of the day at 3616.27.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 25.16, or 2.7%, to 904.46, after trading as low as 888.18.

To continue with the frank part of the discussion: The market is in the midst of a tightening cycle by the Federal Reserve and that in and of itself is a negative. It places added emphasis on any economic data that suggests the Fed may continue to tighten. Countering this is a strong economy, hence business is good, and the tech sector just came out of what was by most accounts a strong first quarter. While many stocks are far from the highs made just a couple of months ago and are at more attractive levels, valuation remains a concern.

Hence we have the tug-of-war that our own

Helene Meisler

focused on in a

column earlier today, emphasizing that it may not be such a bad thing for bulls.

Among stocks on the decline,

Lycos

(LCOS)

was down 10 3/16, or 14%, to 62 7/16, as investors digested news of its merger with

Terra Networks

(TRRA)

. Terra was down 6 1/4, or 11.7%, to 47 5/16. Also among traditional Net plays,

priceline.com

(PCLN)

was down 2 11/16, or 5%, to 51 3/8;

CNet

(CNET) - Get Report

was down 1 13/16, or 4.4%, to 39 1/8;

Inktomi

(INKT)

was down 3 5/8, or 2.6%, to 134 3/8; and

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

was down 5 9/16, or 4.1%, to 129 5/16.

Also on the defensive was

BEA Systems

(BEAS)

, down 5 63/64, or 12.2%, to 43 1/8 after reporting earnings last night. BEA reported first-quarter earnings of 3 cents a share, a penny better than consensus estimates. But the decline was nothing more than buy-the-rumor, sell-the-fact, as BEA gained more than 10% yesterday in advance of the report.

But the day has not been a complete loss.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

was up 2 3/8, or 2%, to 138 ahead of an analysts' day tomorrow.

eToys

(ETYS)

was up 7/8, or 14%, to 7 1/8. Infrastructure plays

Sycamore Networks

(SCMR)

was up 3 1/4, or 3.9%, to 86 1/4, while

Copper Mountain Networks

(CMTN)

was up 3 7/8, or 4.6%, to 88 3/8.