Dow Closes Lower, Nasdaq Inches Up

Tech stocks shake off Qualcomm's tough quarter.
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Updated from 2:53 p.m. EST

Blue-chips closed lower Wednesday, but tech stocks managed to inch higher, on a fairly heavy volume day for the

New York Stock Exchange and the

Nasdaq.

The

Dow shed 36.75 points, or 0.4%, to 9554.37. The Nasdaq added 2.45 points, or 0.1%, to 1837.53, and the

S&P 500 lost 3.06 points to 1115.80.

A disappointing earnings report from

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

was pressuring technology shares earlier in the session. The San Diego wireless communications provider posted fourth-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, short of the 25-cent forecast. The company also warned that full-year 2002 earnings wouldn't meet Wall Street estimates, citing the ongoing economic slowdown, weakness in Latin America, and new accounting regulations. Qualcomm fell 26 cents, or 0.5%, to $54.47.

Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 flat at 5216 and Germany's Xetra DAX up 3.3% to 4861. The German government said September factory orders fell faster than any time in the past six years. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed down 3.3% to 10,285, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.8% to 10,270.

Compaq

(CPQ)

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

were active, following a statement issued by H-P's board stating that it is fully committed to the proposed merger of the companies despite opposition from some big shareholders. Compaq traded down 51 cents, or 6%, to $7.99, while H-P lost 71 cents, or 3.6%, to $19.10.

Aetna

(AET)

said it lost $54.4 million, or 38 cents a share, in the third quarter, on higher medical costs. The company turned a profit of $176.8 million, or $1.24 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Shares of the insurance firm dropped 79 cents, or 2.5%, to $31.22. Meanwhile,

Waste Management

(WMI)

said it earned $30 million, or 5 cents a share, in the third quarter, compared with a loss of $191 million, or 31 cents a share, last year. The company also agreed to pay $457 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the 1998 acquisition of USA Waste. The company's shares climbed $1.6, or 6.5%, to $27.

The Labor Department issued another economic report Wednesday, revealing a 2.7% rise in productivity in the third quarter, slightly better than economists expected.

In Treasuries, the 10-year bond was recently gaining 16/32 to 106 13/32, yielding 4.19%.