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Better Late Than Never: Major Indices Charge Higher at Close

The Dow gains 1.6% and the Nasdaq climbs 1.2% thanks to a strong push in the last hour of trading.

(Updated from 4:18 p.m. EDT)

Blue-chips rallied to finish near their session highs today, and tech stocks closed with a bang, even as companies continue to take their guidance down going into the second half of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up by 164.6 points, or 1.6%, to 10,405.7. The Nasdaq gained 25.2 points, or 1.3%, to 1984.4, and the broader-market S&P 500 added on 18.9 points, or 1.6%, to 1190.5.

Lucent (LU) climbed 3.7% to $6.67. AT&T (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report gained 3.6% to $20.15 on reports that it's holding talks about merging its cable TV business with AOL-Time Warner's (AOL) operations. AT&T Wireless (AWE) rose 3.4% to $17.32. The company reported 37% increase in second-quarter revenue on Tuesday.

SBC Communications

(SBC)

closed up by 6.3% to $43.38 on the heels of its second-quarter earnings announcement, which beat analysts' estimates.

Chip and mobile phone maker

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report

rose 4.7% to $31.61 despite analysts at ABN Amro and Credit Suisse First Boston trimming the company's third-quarter earnings estimates.

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Supplemental insurance firm

Aflac

(AFL) - Get Aflac Incorporated Report

dropped $3.35, or 10.6%, to $28.20 despite posting second-quarter earnings that were in line with analysts' expectations.

PeopleSoft

(PSFT)

added on 12.2% to $38.40 after beating Wall Street's second-quarter estimates. The company also reaffirmed its full-year earnings outlook after the close Tuesday. Storage firm

EMC

(EMC)

rose 1.2% to $18.17, despite Salomon Smith Barney's downgrade of data storage companies earlier today.

In overseas activity, the FTSE-100 dropped 44.50 points, or 0.8% to 5275.70. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 8.36 points, or 0.1%, to 11,891.61 on news Japanese policymakers will discuss tax changes for stock investments. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 22.35, or 0.2%, to 12,214.1.