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Tech Stocks Close Lower After Easing Back From Day's Highs

Inktomi and AOL were tops in investors' eyes following earnings reports.

After a two-day rally that shocked many observers, technology stocks took a break, leaving the market mixed.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index closed down 29.67, or 3.6%, at 806.86 after trading as high as 861.38.

TheStreet.com New Tech 30 finished down 10.99, or 2.1%, at 509.13. The

Nasdaq

closed down 87.15, or 2.3%, at 3706.42 after trading as high as 3851.56. Price action reflected the general confusion throughout the marketplace. There appeared to be as many people that felt the market would take another downturn as there were that felt the worst was over. With some indecision, traders decided to sell when the upside move faded.

Among the day's winners was

Inktomi

(INKT)

, which reported its first profit. It closed up 17 1/8, or 15%, at 133 1/8 after reporting a 1-cent profit vs. the 2-cent-loss estimate. And an upgrade by

Merrill Lynch

to near-term buy from near-term accumulate contributed to the gains.

Among other companies that reported earnings,

America Online

(AOL)

closed up 1 1/4, or 2.1%, at 62 after a well-rounded

TheStreet Recommends

report. Another ISP,

EarthLink

(ELNK)

, also beat estimates, but failed to turn a profit. Earthlink closed down 1, or 6.1%, at 15 1/2.

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get RealNetworks, Inc. Report

, which did report a profit, still closed down 5 1/2, or 13.3%, at 35 13/16. It had rallied sharply ahead of its numbers. And

Knight Trimark

(NITE)

ended down 1/2, or 1.4%, at 34 7/8, after trading as high as 39 1/2.

Business-to-business plays were mixed as well.

PurchasePro

(PPRO)

, which

beat estimates by a penny, closed down 5, or 14%, at 31 5/16.

Ask Jeeves

(ASKJ)

, which bested estimates by 15 cents, closed up 2 15/16, or 10.5%, at 30 15/16.

Commerce One

(CMRC)

closed up 13 1/16, or 16%, at 95 7/16 ahead of its quarterly report after the close. And as

Joe Bousquin

wrote earlier today, results for Commerce One could indicate how the B2B sector moves tomorrow.