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Semiconductor shares conducted themselves admirably early today, lending some bounce to the


in an effort to make up for yesterday's tech


But it was the Internet and telecom sector that kept the index underwater, as the


finished 72 points in the hole at 3168.49. The


finished unchanged.'s Internet Sector Index

did little to help matters, with 21 of its 25 components ending the day in ditches.

Telecom hardware company

Lucent Technologies


ended at a 52-week low of $21.37.

Sycamore Networks


finished 7% lower;

JDS Uniphase


ended down 5% and



slipped 2.3%.

Cisco Systems


, the second-most active stock in Nasdaq trading, edged into the green midsession to become one of the few in its sector to finish positive. Cisco closed at 4 p.m. in New York at $51.19, 6 cents higher.

Lucent sparked the selloff after it

warned last night that it would fall short of the most recent quarter's forecasts. This is the second time this year that Lucent has dashed Wall Street's expectations.

Lehman Brothers

said that owning Lucent in the next few months will not be a bargain hunter's dream. In other words, Lucent is expected to stay at its bargain basement prices. Lucent was lately making new 52-week-lows after losing 30%.



exerted the most gravity, losing 20% as the Nasdaq's fourth-most active stock.

Bermuda-based communication services firm

Global Crossing


had a rough session, losing 10% when its CEO resigned after only seven months on the job.

3:54 p.m.: No Dot-Comraderie Here

It's not a pretty sight for the dot-coms.'s Internet Sector Index


was down another 6.5% after closing down 3% yesterday. It was led lower both days by Internet giant Yahoo!.

The world's best known Internet portal was dropping like lead today to a 52-week-low of $66.63, down 19.4%, after saying it is being affected by a drop in advertising. Last night, the pert and profitable portal did announce better-than-expected third-quarter earnings. But its losses started during a conference call about its earnings when it encouraged caution about coming quarters.

took a close look at Yahoo! in a

separate story.

Yahoo!'s misfortunes portend potential predicaments for portals like



, which fell 20.2% in both sympathy and reduced faith in the performance of online ad agency




earlier today took a look at how

ad woes affect DoubleClick, which reports its earnings tomorrow. It was lately dipping 16%.

Credit Suisse First Boston

began coverage of Yahoo! earlier today with a hold rating, but

Merrill Lynch


Henry Blodget raised his 2001 revenue estimate and left his earnings estimate unchanged. Blodget said that despite the continuing tough online advertising environment, Yahoo! remains a good long-term investment.

Perhaps investors overlooked that Yahoo still managed to do well in a tough advertising environment, but then again many people are so spooked by the current environment that they were looking for any excuse to sell.

Blodget also added that he expected the "challenging environment" for online advertising to continue into the second quarter of 2001, three to six months longer than anticipated. While Blodget touted Yahoo!'s long-term investment potential, its short-term prospects continue to darken. "We believe the stock will essentially trade sideways through early next year," Blodget wrote.

Meanwhile, the

DOT (as Internet index is known) buckled under the fears of this e-advertising slowdown, with 18 out of 25 stocks under pressure.

Though advertising may be declining from a previous swell, the Internet certainly isn't going anywhere too quickly. And Internet infrastructure provider



was giving the DOT a needed boost, with gains of 0.7%.

News that the proposed merger of

America Online



Time Warner


was given

conditional approval by the European Union two weeks ahead of schedule -- and after rocky and uncertain negotiations -- did little to lift the stock of either company. The Yahoo!-induced ugliness was just too strong. AOL was lately 6.6% lower. And Time Warner was also off 6.5%.


was also falling, lately off 7.8%. It earlier announced that it would close its joint venture with



, the auction house that's been under pressure because of charges of price fixing. They will close, and visitors to what was the combined venture will be redirected to the auction house's site. Sotheby's will pay for the traffic and will become's exclusive online auction aggregator for authenticated fine art.