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If you blinked, you missed the

Nasdaq's visit to the upside.

This morning the index touched as low as 3382.5 before bouncing over the break-even line. It was lately heading lower.

Yesterday the index continued its recent trend of climbing at the opening and falling at the close. It also took a dive below the Aug. 3 intraday low of 3521, a level many hoped would bring bargain hunters back to market. It didn't.

This morning's dive therefore caught investors' and traders' attention. The bucking of the rally-at-the-opening trend brought some optimism for a more-sustained Comp ascent, but there were no signs of that lately.

Optimism over

Micron Technology's


earnings -- to be released today after the close -- was helping the semiconductor sector. It should also have been helping to lift the Nasdaq, since many semis are listed there. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was lately up 2.9%.

But pressure from software companies such as



-- which was hurt by

Computer Associates'


earnings warnings last night and a downgrade this morning -- as well as market-maker brokerage



-- which warned this morning that it would miss earnings estimates -- were keeping the Nasdaq down. wrote a separate story about


An upgrade on biotechs wasn't helping the sector, while a bearish report on


was slamming Internet stocks. The

Nasdaq Biotechnology Index

was 2.6% lower, was lately off 1.1% and the Internet Sector

index was down 0.2%.


Dow Jones Industrial Average was doing better. It was actually rallying, though it was lately off its highs.






were the only components helping out with 10 or more points to the Dow's positive. Financials

J.P. Morgan





were the heaviest drags, taking away more than 25 points.

Boeing was rebounding after announcing a partnership with

BF Goodrich


to develop a passenger-to-freighter conversion program for its 737 jetliner. The airplane maker's stock was recently sold off when it lost an important contract to competitor


in Singapore.

Elsewhere on the NYSE, medical-equipment manufacturer



and e-business company

Calico Commerce


also warned about earnings overnight. Guidant was lately off 19.3%, while Calico was 25.5% lower.

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Sector Watch

Transport, cyclical and paper stocks were having a sunny day even though it was a gray day for tech. Energy stocks weren't living up to their name -- they were dragging.


Dow Jones Transportation Average

was up 2.6%, again lifted by airline stocks, which in turn were boosting the

American Stock Exchange Airline Index

, up 2.3%.


Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index

rose 2.3%, while the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Products Index

lately jumped 2.9%.

Pick an energy sector, any energy sector -- they are all down, including the

American Stock Exchange Natural Gas Index

, off 2.8%,

Chicago Board Options Exchange Oil Index

, down 2.0%, and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

, 3.3% lower.

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Treasuries are mixed on little news, as the focus shifts from yesterday's

Federal Open Market Committee meeting to Friday's September

employment report. In keeping with the

Fed's aggressive stance on interest rates, short-maturity issues are under pressure, while the longest-maturity issue is higher in price. There are no major economic reports today.

The FOMC decided to keep the

fed funds rate at 6.5% and maintained that the economy is still at risk of rising inflation. The committee

cited the high rate of labor-force utilization -- a.k.a the low

augmented unemployment rate -- as one of the major reasons for its decision. The September jobs report will measure that rate anew. In August it stood at 6.9%, just off its all-time low (since the Labor Department began measuring it in 1994) of 6.8% in June.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note lately was down 5/32 at 99, lifting its yield to 5.884%.

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