Nasdaq 5000 is still a ways off, but with the performance in the tech sector over the past two days, the index's high in the 5100 area is back on the radar screen.

Bolstered by a stellar earnings report from

Ariba

(ARBA)

last night that came on the heels of a stellar report from

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, investors continued to pour into technology stocks, though short-covering undoubtedly accounted for some of the progress as well. The Nasdaq ended the day up 75.27 points, or 1.8%, at 4174.86. In the past two sessions it has added 218 points.

Ariba led a surge in business-to-business stocks, climbing 27 11/16, or 27%, to 131 3/16. Its

numbers supported hopes that the rest of the sector also would turn in strong numbers. Among other B2B plays,

E.piphany

(EPNY)

closed up 26 17/32, or 22%, at 146 7/32;

Vignette

(VIGN)

climbed 6 1/8, or 13%, to 52 1/4;

FreeMarkets

(FMKT)

raced up 9 5/32, or 20%, to 55 1/16;

PurchasePro

(PPRO)

added 7 3/4, or 19%, to 49; and

Commerce One

(CMRC)

soared 8 1/16, or 15.5%, to 59 15/16.

And the good earnings news extended elsewhere.

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

, which was scheduled to report after the close, finished up 17 9/16, or 11.6%, at 169 1/2. And

Copper Mountain Networks

(CMTN)

closed up 8 7/16, or 9%, at 102.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

was unable to extend yesterday's 18% gain. It closed down 2 3/8, or 1.9%, at 122 9/16 as profit-takers stepped in.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index, which includes Yahoo! and other more traditional Internet plays, ended up 10.54, or 1.3%, at 820.43.

One bright spot among traditional Net stocks was

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

, which closed up 5 3/16, or 11%, at 51 15/16. Gains came on news that

America Online

(AOL)

would be using RealNetworks' audio and video technology throughout the AOL network. (

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

reported this story

earlier.

While the market has enjoyed a couple of strong days, it still faces some important economic data tomorrow with June

retail sales

and

Producer Price Index

reports to be released.

1:58 p.m.: Net Stocks Hang On to Solid Gains Even as Yahoo! Falters

The rout was continuing in the

Nasdaq. Solid earnings reports from

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

and

Ariba

(ARBA)

on successive days, along with beliefs that the worst is over from the

Federal Reserve, have shaken out shorts and given the green light to other investors to get back in to previously beaten-up tech shares.

In recent trading, the Nasdaq was up 74, or 1.8%, to 4173.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 7, or 0.8%, to 817. The aforementioned Yahoo! has been unable to follow through on yesterday's 18% gain. It recently was off 0.8% in what was likely profit-taking. The aforementioned Ariba, by contrast, was up 21.3% and carrying business-to-business stocks higher as well.

Sam Tobias, trader with

Circle T Partners

hedge fund, said that even though both fundamentals and technicals were positive, he was taking some profits into today's strength ahead of tomorrow's

Producer Price Index

report (

retail sales

for June also will be released). He said he's using trading 101, selling strength and buying weakness, anticipating a 2% to 3% pullback as the market backs and fills the gains from the past two sessions.

But Tobias said the rally was for real. "All the indices look terrific technically which people pay attention to. The earnings backdrop is positive and there's the historical strength of a summer rally that everyone was fading for," he said. "The Fed is out of the way and the data is suggests were coming to a soft landing which the market wants to see. And that makes the case for a decent rally."

And while Tobias said he was booking some profits today, he said he is making trades based on a short-term horizon, and that he would have no problem putting money to work longer term, particularly during an election year when the market typically performs well.

Our own James Cramer, on

TheStreet.com's

premium

RealMoney.com

site, waxes poetic on the earnings season in a recent piece. We'll heist some of his comments even though others have to pay for his stuff.

Cramer writes that while most of the bad news is out of the way regarding earnings, those companies that report the earliest are the ones that tend to be the best run and most organized, and results from here on out will be mixed.

"Next week brings some good and probably some bad. Some of these companies next week will disappoint, but not disappoint in the way that will upset the whole shooting match," he writes. "By that time, the market could be so robust that the Fed might be back on the radar screen -- especially if we get some strong data. Which is how we could lose the rosy glow pattern we have now. It is a cycle. The cycle of negativity and then positive action and then back to neutral. It gets played out every quarter. It just doesn't get talked about. Except for here."

10:39 a.m.: During Earnings Season, There's a Different Star Every Day

Yesterday,

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, today

Ariba

(ARBA)

.

One day after Yahoo! carried the

Nasdaq

higher following a solid earnings report, Ariba was doing the same following its earnings

report after the close last night. The

Nasdaq

had pushed through the 4100 level, recently trading up 40 to 4139.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index, which added more than 7% yesterday, was down 3 to 807. Yahoo!, which added 18% yesterday, was up 1 5/16 to 126 3/16 today. This morning, Ariba was up 19 15/16, or 19.3%, to 123 1/2.

Brokerage houses were gushing over Ariba's quarter, using words like "blowout" (

CIBC World Markets

), and saying the company "knocked the cover off the ball" (

ABN Amro

). And we found one research house,

Prudential

, that upgraded the stock to strong buy from accumulate.

Prudential analyst Douglas Crook raised his price target on the stock to 140 from 110, writing that "continued acceleration in the fundamentals will allow the stock to sustain a premium multiple." Prudential has not done underwriting for Ariba.

Reason for the excitement was a surge in revenues to $80.7 million versus estimates of between $47 million and $49 million. Ariba posted a loss of 5 cents a share for its third quarter versus an 8-cent loss estimate from

First Call/Thomson Financial

.

TSC's

own Joe "B2B" Bousquin compares and contrasts Ariba with rival

Commerce One

(CMRC)

in a

piece that ran yesterday. And on our sister/premium site,

RealMoney.com

, our own James Cramer focuses on Ariba and what has gone on with the stock over the past few months.

Among other B2B stocks,

FreeMarkets

(FMKT)

was up 18.9%;

i2 Technologies

(ITWO)

was up 10%;

Vignette

(VIGN)

was up 8%; and Commerce One was up 14.1%.

Actuate

(ACTU)

was another mover post-earnings, trading up 10.4%. It reported second quarter earnings of 8 cents a share versus the 6-cent Street estimate. It also set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Elsewhere, shares of

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

continued to surge, up 10.4%, on news that it had reached an agreement with

America Online

(AOL)

to deploy RealNetworks' audio and video technology throughout the AOL network.