The pulse of the New Economy was strong earlier in the morning, but by the afternoon, it was weak and difficult to find as

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

coughed up earlier gains,

Micron

(MU) - Get Report

, the

New York Stock Exchange's

most-active issue, took a macro loss and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

fell hard.

Micron, down $5.69 to $47, and Intel, off $2.56 to $45.38, sabotaged the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

, the

SOX

, which was up more than 1% during the morning. And with Intel and Microsoft down, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and

Nasdaq Composite Index

took hits, too.

Both finished down at session lows, with the Comp off 62.54 to 3741.22 and the Dow down 39.22 to 10,808.15.

All right, so Intel went down, but at least it went down swinging. At the open, investors gleefully sent the recently beleaguered stock past $50. Unfortunately, that initial peak became the only pinnacle, and investors turned "Hello Intel!" into "Goodbye, Mr. Chips." At midday, Intel took its first nibble of the red, a taste that never quite left its mouth as the company struggled around break-even for most of the afternoon until succumbing to losses. (Again, it ended off $2.56 to $45.38.)

But if you're really looking for a true signal of today's late-day trail-off, check out

TheStreet.com's Internet Sector

, the

DOT

. Unlike Intel, which showed signs of weakness right from its opening peak, the DOT tracked the Comp step for step. In a saggy 60 minutes between 11:05 a.m. EST and 12:05 p.m., the Comp dropped 48 points while the DOT slumped 11. Both fell more than 1%.

It's like that cloying, horrible sitcom theme from

The Facts of Life

. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the DOT, which ended off 15.8 to 764.3. There was a split within the index today, with

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

leading the losers and a motley collection of smaller guys winning big on the upside. Yahoo! lost $5.94 to $105.50, the biggest dollar loser in the sector.

Incubator

CMGI

(CMGI)

, webvertiser

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

, e-tailer

priceline

(PCLN)

and digital security outfit

RSA Security

(RSAS)

were the other notable losers.

But a trio of winners were out there -- and were a big reason why the DOT didn't finish far lower. Infrastructurer

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

and software makers

Inktomi

(INKT)

and

Macromedia

(MACR)

all gained two bucks or more.

Newswise, today was a fairly calm day. There were no earth-shattering warnings or huge announcements. At least nothing with the market-quaking effects of that Intel news from last week. Still, there was some activity around the horn. Here's a quick recap of the movers and shakers:

Palm , which announces its earnings this evening, and Motorola announced plans to create a cobranded smart phone, combining elements of the Palm Pilot with those ever-lovin' mobile phones. Palm rose 44 cents to $52.25, while Motorola fell $1.06 to $31.16.

Nortel fell 81 cents to $66.69 despite a Merrill Lynch analyst reaffirming positive comments.

NBC Interactive announced a new design and increased ties with NBC, its parent company. NBCi gained $1.44 to $7.63.

Cause: Webvan's founder Louis Borders steps down as CEO. Effect: Webvan gains 6 cents to $2.97.

All in all, today was a pretty calm day, with gradual losses (but losses nonetheless) a continuous, daylong affair. Very few stocks landed in hot water and even fewer were stone-cold successes. Mix those two up and you've got a pretty tepid Monday.

Tonight, look for the aforementioned Palm and

Cabletron Systems

(CS) - Get Report

to release second-quarter results. Analysts are calling for a 1-cent per share loss vs. last year's 7-cent profit. And sure, yeah, OK, fine, maybe Palm and Cabletron aren't the most exciting earnings release, but they are harbingers of things to come -- the end of the confessional pre-earnings period and the start of the earnings season, when the real atonement happens. Look for

Micron Electronics

(MUEI)

and

3Com

(COMS)

to report tomorrow night.

10:43 p.m.: It's Bounceback Day for Tech

Did you have a good weekend?

If you like the Jets or late-afternoon rallies, you did.

Four-lettered stocks (those listed on the

Nasdaq, in case you hadn't noticed), made a miracle comeback on Friday, a precursor to the Chrebet catch on Sunday. After

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

warned on

Thursday night that its earnings report would be weaker than expected, markets

turned to manure Friday morning. The Nasdaq stank all morning and into the afternoon that day, when a mid-afternoon reversal saved the weekend.

But alas, last week wasn't a very good one for tech or the Nasdaq. The Nasdaq dropped just over 30 points, ending any dreams of a September rally, while the

Morgan Stanley High Tech 35

dropped about 20.

But spirits have picked up this week, at least so far. Markets opened positive. Especially Intel, which has lost $26 this September, $14 of that on Friday.

At last check, Intel was climbing back, lately up $75 cents, or 1.8%, to 48.75. The chipmaker helped boost other semiconductor stocks, as well as the Nasdaq and

Dow Jones Industrial Average.

So far, so good. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

rose 1.8%, while the Comp (as the Nasdaq is known) and the Dow are trading higher.

And while Intel moved higher, the fortunes of

Micron Technology

(MU) - Get Report

were falling -- at least according to analysts.

Salomon Smith Barney

took the company to the woodshed this morning, cutting the company to outperform from buy. Solly lowered Micron's 2001 year-long earnings per share number to $4.90 from $5.60, with a new 12-month price target of $75, 30 bucks less than the previous target.

The pricing trend of dynamic random access memory, known as DRAM, which is something of a semiconductor commodity, are responsible for the lowered expectations. Suppliers recently dropped spot prices for 64-megabyte DRAM chips to $6.00 from $8.50. Analysts see Micron trading in a range until these trends stabilize, which looks unlikely for the near future.

Micron shrugged off the bad news and participated in the semiconductor rally. It was lately up 38 cents, or 0.6%, to $53.38.

Webvertiser enabler

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

announced the acquisition of online researcher

atPlan

(APLN)

in a cash-and-stock deal worth $120 million. The math breaks down like this: one atPlan share is now worth $9.25 in cash and stock, which is 28% better than where it closed on Friday, at $7.25. atPlan shareholders get 20% of the consideration in cash, with the remainder in DoubleClick stock.

atPlan shares skyrocketed on the news, jumping 21.6% to $8.81. DoubleClick was higher, too, gaining 1.7% to $38.06.

Last week,

Handspring

(HAND)

did backsprings after announcing the creation of the Global System for Mobile Communications attachment, which transforms a palm top computer into a mobile telephone. The company's stock, which debuted in June with a first-day close of $26.94, rose $20.81 last week, which was a nifty 50% gain. Today, the company said the new attachment would go on sale in the States in November and in Europe early next year.

Handhelds are heating up.

Motorola

(MOT)

and

Palm

(PALM)

weren't going to let Handspring continue to flip out. Today, the mobile phone maker and Palm announced a pairing to create a smart-phone, which would combine the Palm Pilot's calendar and database functions with Motorola's mobility and distribution channels. The phones will be similar to other third-generation phones, but will feature larger, full-color screens. Adding a new spin to an age-old maxim, smart phones come to those who wait. The first co-branded gizmo will hit markets in early 2002.

Palm and Motorola were stronger, with Palm gaining 3.1% and Motorola up 0.8%. Handspring was down 0.8%.