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Tech investors picked up where they left off yesterday, and the

Nasdaq was kicking up its heels this morning, lifting over 90 points. The broader market

S&P 500 and the blue-chip

Dow were also advancing into the green. Volume had picked up a little compared with recent sessions, and advancers were beating decliners by a moderate range on both the

NYSE and Nasdaq exchanges.

After erasing all of January's rally of more than 14%, the Nasdaq began to make a comeback yesterday. Investors apparently decided enough was enough, and they wanted another taste of those tantalizing technology stocks.

It may be the market is anticipating that a hefty load of economic data due out tomorrow will confirm what some economic reports have already suggested -- that the economy began to pick up in January and that a recovery may come sooner than later.


Philly Fed Index, released this morning, indicated that the beleaguered manufacturing sector may finally begin to show some buoyancy. Check out's

separate piece on the data. And tomorrow serves up

industrial production, the

consumer sentiment index

and the

producer price index. Industrial production and consumer sentiment are probably the ones to keep a close eye on. The Fed has said how important higher consumer confidence levels are to the economic recovery.

Some traders fear investors are getting a little bit ahead of themselves, though. Market-watchers have been predicting a stagnating market in coming months until business picks up in earnest. Companies and analysts have been predicting a turnaround in the third quarter of this year. But with

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visibility issues cropping up all across the tech universe, some have begun to stretch that forecast to the fourth quarter.

Telecommunications-equipment maker


(CIEN) - Get Ciena Corporation Report

certainly was doing its part to lift the Nasdaq after it beat Wall Street estimates for its fiscal first-quarter earnings and, more importantly, forecast strong growth ahead. Tech investors had been punishing Ciena -- and most of the telecommunications-equipment makers -- lately on concerns about slowing corporate investments in technology. The stock was up 15.4%, and most of its sector was moving up.

Wall Street just couldn't take a rest from networking darling


(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems Inc. Report

. For a solid week, the stock has been one of the most actively traded on the Nasdaq, and it was again so far today. Last Tuesday, the company warned its expected sales to slow in the future, and investors sold it off through Friday. Monday it began to rebound. Cisco was lately up 6.1% to $31.13.

(AMZN) - Get Inc. Report

was falling this morning after Prudential downgraded the Internet bellwether to a sell. was off 3.5% to $13.94. Rival online bookseller



yesterday won part of a patent battle with. Barnes& was lately off 5.4% to $1.66.

The Dow as getting most of its lift from tech giants


(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report



(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report

, with those stocks adding 31 points to the upside to the index.

Meanwhile, earnings season may be on its last legs, but there are a few more big names left to report. PC-leaders


(DELL) - Get Dell Technologies Inc. Class C Report




issue their quarterly numbers today after the market closes. On Tuesday,

Merrill Lynch

trimmed its earnings estimate for Dell's fiscal year, which ended January 2001, to 85 cents a share, down from 90 cents a share. But it left estimates for the fourth quarter 2000 intact. According to a 21-analyst consensus, Dell is expected to post fourth-quarter earnings of 15 cents a share.

Dell was up 7.4% to $24.63, and H-P was up 4.1% to $35.82 ahead of their releases.

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Sector Watch

Investors were clearly favoring tech stocks over defensives again today. Drugs, tobacco and energy stocks were falling, while pretty much everything tech was on the rise. But two indices were really taking the cake and eating it, too. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was up a bopping 6% and the

Morgan Stanley High Tech Index

was tearing 4.4% higher.

Financials were also on the up and up. The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was up 1.9% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

was up 0.3%.

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The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note was falling this morning, down 6/32 to 98 18/32, yielding 5.184%.

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