A second round of benign inflation data this morning seemed like a good enough excuse for another rally and stocks headed right to the green right after the open.

Volume still looked pretty sleepy around midsession, and this morning's upside may be more about an absence of selling than a flurry of buying.

"I don't think anyone could really say these numbers change anything, it's just because things were oversold, just an excuse to rally," said Frank Gretz, market analyst at Shields.

This morning, the

Labor Department

said the April

Producer Price Index

came in below estimates of a 0.1% decline by posting a 0.3% drop, while the core figure, which is a better indication of where underlying inflation is moving, came in right on target at a positive 0.1%.

Some said today's session would tell whether the market actually did retest its mid-April lows on Wednesday or not.

"While volume did expand a little on Tuesday and Wednesday, I was disappointed that it didn't continue yesterday. Today is kind of put up or shut up," said Getz. "If we have successfully tested the April lows, we should be able to rally with volume...otherwise it's just another two-day rally."

Lately, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

, which nearly fell to its mid-April lows on Wednesday, recovered much of its Wednesday losses Thursday and was lately up 101 to 3600. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was rising 119 to 10,666.

"I think the biggest weakness has been the tech sector. Techs are very volatile, but they got cleaned the other day, so it's a natural rebound there," said Gretz.

In Nasdaq trading, techs were stronger across the board today, with boxmakers, chipmakers, software and Internet stocks all doing nicely.


(DELL) - Get Report

was having a great day, up 5 5/16, or 11.9%, to 50.

Dell posted first-quarter earnings well above estimates after the close yesterday and announced plans for a joint venture with

America Online






Other big-cap tech stocks were also flying, with


(ORCL) - Get Report

up 3 13/16, or 5.3%, to 76 3/16, and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

rising 5 13/16, or 7.7%, to 82 11/16.

Telecom stocks were benefiting from the upswing, and the

Nasdaq Telecommunications Index

was 1.9% higher.


(NOK) - Get Report

was jumping 2 7/8, or 5.4%, to 54 15/16.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

Index was up 27.4 to 861.4, boosted by strength in





(BVSN) - Get Report





In NYSE trading, the interest-rate sensitive

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was getting a powerful boost from today's soft inflation data, up 2.9%.


(C) - Get Report


J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report


Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report


Charles Schwab


were all helping to propel this index upward.

Elsewhere on the NYSE,


(XRX) - Get Report

was bouncing after it said G. Richard Thoman has stepped down from his roles as president and CEO and named chairman Paul Allaire to replace him. Xerox shares were up 1 13/16, or 7.4%, to 27 3/8.

Some NYSE stocks were dipping lower at midsession, particularly the consumer stocks, with utilities and paper products were also lower.

The small-cap

Russell 2000

was up 8, while the broader S&P 500 was up 21 to 1429.

Market Internals

Breadth was positive, but volume low on both the NYSE and the Nasdaq.

New York Stock Exchange:

1,568 advancers, 1,143 decliners, 517 million shares. 69 new 52-week highs, 48 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market:

2,295 advancers, 1,436 decliners, 705 million shares. 39 new highs, 53 new lows.