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Yesterday's enthusiasm for stocks had faded by this morning. The major indices managed to open in the green, but lost their gumption shortly afterward. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately churning lower, while the

Nasdaq Composite Index was building on middling gains.

It looks like yesterday may have been just another 24-hour bull market. Last Friday, the Nasdaq rang up the second-largest percentage gain in its history -- almost 8% -- and the Dow had a three-digit rise, but most of those gains were erased between Monday and Wednesday. Thursday saw similar-size gains.

On balance, earnings news last night and this morning held more good than bad. But many market pros think the Nasdaq overextended itself yesterday and was due for some profit-taking. Earnings outlooks for the coming quarter are the market's major concern now, as investors try to gauge how much a slowing economy will bite into corporate results. Most of the past almost seven weeks of selling has been due to earnings disappointments.

United Technologies





were to blame for the Dow's weakness this morning, vacuuming some 57 points from the blue-chip index.

United Technologies was getting slammed after reports that the company is in talks to acquire fellow Dow component



in a deal worth more than $40 billion, according to sources close to the deal. The $40 billion would represent a 40% premium on the closing price of Honeywell's shares yesterday.

wrote about the discussions last night in a

separate story. United Technologies was lately down 11.4%.

Honeywell was easing weakness on the Dow, however, up 11.3% and adding over 25 points to the index.

Coca-Cola was getting the cold shoulder from investors after the company announced this morning that a weak euro could put pressure on its earnings going forward. The soft-drink top dog narrowly beat earnings forecasts this morning. Coca-Cola was off 3.4%.

Big tech was pretty mixed in morning trading, with strength in




America Online






But that was countered by weakness in



and PC-makers such as







Sun Microsystems



The Nasdaq's most active was mobile-phone giant



, which cut its

sales and profitability forecasts , citing mobile-phone losses.

Telecom heavy-hitter



was off slightly following Ericcson's news. Yesterday, the telecom sector rallied hard following spectacular earnings from



, which makes communications semiconductors, and Nokia. Nokia said handset demand remains strong, despite fears of a slowdown in that business.

earlier wrote separate stories on

Broadcom and


Internet stocks were getting a boost on the heels of blowout earnings from



last night.

Goldman Sachs

raised its EPS estimates for this year and the next on eBay, and


raised its EPS estimates for this year and next on SDL.

wrote a separate story on

eBay's earnings.

eBay was lately up 7.98%, while the Internet Sector

Index was 2.7% higher.

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Sector Watch

After leading yesterday's rally, semiconductors were taking a little breather today, and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was lately off 1.4% to 748.4. Only five of the 16 stocks in the index were higher: Intel, higher by 4.3%;

Advanced Micro Devices


, up 0.3%;

LSI Logic


, 0.7% higher;

Micron Technology


rising 2.9%; and



, up 0.9%.

Financials were strong with the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

up 3.9%, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

0.3% higher, and the

S&P Insurance Index

0.2% higher.

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The bond market continues to improve, overall, though lately the benchmark 10-year

Treasury note was 1/32 lower at 100 21/32, yielding 5.663%.

The 30-year

Treasury bond was at 107 4/32, 4/32 higher, to yield 5.746%.

With no economic releases due today, there will probably be little new to cause any change in the market's view. Mixed performance in equities and ongoing Mideast tensions are likely to dominate the market's interest.

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