What's a five-letter word for an instant rally?


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The company, which competes with









in the crowded fiber-optic equipment market, kicked off a huge rush back into technology after saying it sees strong growth in 2001. The forecast was a gutsy one that scant few tech companies have had the cajones to make. Slowing economy be damned -- we're gonna make more money next year!

"We now believe we will be able to achieve 2001 revenue growth of between 95% to 105% over last year, which translates into a revenue range of between $1.67 billion to $1.76 billion for fiscal year 2001," the company said in its press release.

As a result, both the

Dow Jones Industrial Average and

Nasdaq Composite Index shot up from the opening bell as investors found a reason to buy technology again. The Dow gained 98 points with the full support of


(IBM) - Get Report



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United Technologies


The upward swing in technology was led by semiconductors and networkers, and then supported by large-cap technology and PC makers. Biotechnology names were positive, but a notable nonparticipant in the rally. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

rose 5%, while the

American Stock Exchange Networking Index

was up 3.6%.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector Index

rose 1.7%, thanks primarily to a 9.9% ramp up in




Ciena, whose equipment can be found in networkers, gained 15.9% to $89, making it one of the biggest winners in the Nasdaq. The movement in Ciena was similar to that of many other tech names -- it rallied the stock back after close to two weeks of nonstop selling. Right now, Ciena is pretty much breakeven for the month of February.

The Ciena news comes just two days after

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report


Sycamore Networks


both announced earnings that topped estimates and warned that earnings growth would be tough in the next few quarters. But yesterday, markets rallied anyway. And the love continued unabashed today: Applied Materials soared 5.6%, while Sycamore ran up 1.9%.

This rally sure tastes sweet after the bitter bile of late 2000 and February's selloff, which killed off January's gains. A quick check of Intel's and H-P's movement over the last three months is pretty bleak. Both companies slid heavily in September and have been relatively flat since then.

But the upward momentum of the last two sessions has the pair at the top end of a trading range, poised to break through and reach levels unseen since late September and early October. Some companies have already begun this movement. IBM hit a high of $118.64, which hadn't been seen since Oct. 9.

That said, this could be a short-lived rally. In the past few sessions, the Comp and Dow have each seen huge gains stripped away in the final hours. The Dow continues to ram its head against the 11K level, which it has been flirting with for most of February with no success. And the Comp has been mercurial in recent weeks as traders try to figure out which tech industries will recover most quickly from the slowdown, using economic data and earnings releases as clues.

Time will tell how significant today's action was in breaking technology out of a three-month funk.

Yesterday's big loser,


(MMM) - Get Report

, rallied back as the monthly

business outlook survey from the

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank

showed manufacturing spending had improved slightly. According to the Fed survey, February came in at a dreary -30.5, an improvement over January, when the number came in at a low unseen since the recession of 1990 and 1991. A number below zero signals contraction in manufacturing spending.

Heavy-equipment maker


(CAT) - Get Report

, chemical company


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and aerospacer


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were higher on the news.


(MRK) - Get Report

was a notable loser as investors yanked cash out of defensive stocks to go dabble in technology. Merck slid 1.9%, bringing it back to levels unseen since mid-October. That's just like tech -- only in the opposite direction. The drugmaker coughed up all of the huge gains from the end of 2000, when the presidential election and economic slowdown put investors on the defensive.


American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

fell 0.8%.

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Sector Watch

Going broke? Go for brokers!

Wall Street investors piled into the

American Stock Exchange Securities Broker/Dealer Index's

membership today. The index rose 2%, as goodwill towards

Merrill Lynch



Bear Stearns


buoyed the sector.

Bear Sterns rose after announcing the purchase of

Wagner Scott Mercator

for $625 million, buying the specialist firm and becoming more like competitors Merrill and

Goldman Sachs

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in the process. Both Merrill and Goldie have purchased specialist firms in the last six months.

Bear rose 3.2%. Merrill was up 4.7%. Goldie gained 2.8%.

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Treasury prices are lower for the fourth successive day as the money market trims its hopes of an interest-rate cut next month from 50 basis points to 25. The fall in prices is steepest at the long end, with the 30-year bond two-thirds of a point down. The commercial and jobs data released this morning were slightly positive, but still showed a softened economy. Yields are a little higher for the notes and fairly flat for the longer-dated maturities.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note lately was down 8/32 to 98 17/32, raising its yield to 5.19%.

In economic news,

initial jobless claims


definition |

chart |


), which track the number of people applying for first-time unemployment benefits, fell to 352,000 in the week ended Feb.10, from 363,000. Economists had predicted a drop to 359,000 in the


poll, so the lower number is a good sign. However, the reading is subject to frequent revisions. The four-week moving average rose to 345,000, its highest value since early January.

Import and export prices


definition |

chart |


) were mixed for January, with the former down and the latter up. Prices for imports for all commodities slid for the second consecutive month, by 0.4%. The average price increase for the past 12 months has also declined consistently since September; the level now stands at 2.3%. Excluding oil imports, the average monthly and yearly increases were 0.3% and 1.6%, respectively. Meanwhile, total export costs were up 0.2% for January and are holding steady at 1.3% in their 12-month average. Excluding agricultural products, the price increases are 0.2% for January and 1% over the past 12 months.


Philadelphia Fed Index


definition |

chart |


), which measures regional manufacturing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, came out below expectations at -30.5. After the steep fall to -36.8 in January, economists had been predicting a more marked improvement, forecasting the number would rise to -24. The number indicates contracting activity in factories when below zero, and though it is moving in the right direction, its slow progress indicates the severely depressed state of manufacturing. Almost every

Federal Reserve official has commented upon the manufacturing sector's woes, so the latest information is not likely to surprise bond investors.

Finally, the

Consumer Comfort Index


definition |

chart) rose by 4 points to 20, its highest level since the start of the year. The gauge reflects the state of the economy and how people are responding to general buying opportunities.

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