Tech Sector Takes a Breather

3Com's drop, Palm's hot IPO, and the Robbie Stephens conference threw Net shares into a tizzy.
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Soaring to dizzying heights over the past few sessions, can you blame the technology sector if it stopped to catch its breath today?

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 45.62, or 1.0%, to 4738.46 in recent trading after pushing ahead earlier.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was off 37.64, or 3.1%, to 1161.89. Friday's employment report was likely helping keep gains in check. Check out how our own

James Cramer

is setting up for Friday's numbers in an earlier

column.

And while we're linking,

Herb Greenberg

, who can't seem to decide if he wants to be a bear or a bull, had a few tech picks in a recent

column, while chartist extraordinaire

Helene Meisler

also features some Net plays in her

column. She has a 390 target on

Akamai

(AKAM) - Get Report

, which was down 13 5/8, or 5%, at 265 today. She also likes

CMGI

(CMGI)

, though would prefer to buy it on a dip to the 120 area. It was nearing that level, down 5 11/16, or 4.5%, to 122 in recent trading.

3Com

(COMS)

was getting some of the blame for the selloff despite the stellar success of its

Palm

(PALM)

spinoff today. 3Com was down 18 3/8, or 18%, to 85 3/4 after rallying sharply ahead of Palm's debut. Palm, meanwhile, was up 63, or 166%, to 101.

Many companies that were presenting at the

Robertson Stephens Tech 2000 Conference

were on the rise today, though it was difficult to figure out if gains were triggered by daytraders playing the momentum game or institutions that liked what they heard.

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

was up 4 7/8, or 1.5%, to 327 9/16, though it traded as high as 341 3/4.

MP3.com

(MPPP)

was up 1 15/16, or 12%, to 18 5/16, and

E.piphany

(EPNY)

was up 5 5/8, or 3%, to 218, though it traded as high as 229.

Online brokerages, which have rallied over the past couple of sessions due to strong trading volumes in the current quarter, were giving it back today.

E*Trade

(EGRP)

was down 1 5/8, or 6%, to 24 9/16;

Ameritrade

(AMTD) - Get Report

was down 1 7/8, or 9%, to 19 1/4;

National Discount Brokerage

(NDB)

was off 3 9/16, or 7.6%, to 43 9/16;

Siebert Financial

(SIEB) - Get Report

was down 1 5/8, or 10.6%, to 13 3/4; and

Schwab

(SCH)

was down 2 7/16, or 5%, to 44 1/16.

One exception,

Knight/Trimark

(NITE)

, was up 1/2, or 1%, to 47 3/4, though it traded as high as 50 1/2.

Merrill Lynch

upped its price target on the firm, which clears many of the trades from online brokerages, to near-term accumulate from neutral with a 12- to 18-month price target in the low 60s. Also,

Putnam Lovell deGuardiola & Thornton

raised its first-quarter estimate on the company to 95 cents from 35 cents. The price target was raised to 75 from 53. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate for Knight/Trimark is a 64-cent gain.