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Dow and the

Nasdaq tacked on gains as the morning progressed.

For the Nasdaq, however, that reverses only slightly the down, down, down movement of the Nasdaq, which is still on course to ring up its worst year ever.

Most sobering today is

Network Associates


, the biggest percentage loser today for the Nasdaq. The provider of software security systems announced after the close yesterday that it expects to post a fourth-quarter loss of between $130 million and $140 million due to reduced orders and a slowing economy. It was lately off 67%. And, yes, you read that correctly.

Network Associates did not provide earnings-per-share figures, but the 11 analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

were calling for the company to earn 31 cents a share for the quarter. The company earned 20 cents in the year-ago period. Not surprisingly, analysts swung into action this morning.

Robertson Stephens

, for example, chopped its earnings-per-share estimates for 2000 to 9 cents from $1.01.

wrote a

complete story about Network Associates' news last night.'s

Herb Greenberg has been following this company for a while and has interesting

insights into its accounting practices.

Like yesterday's market, investors were finding safety and comfort in some energy stocks. As the cold weather continues for much of the country and as energy prices soar, companies that benefit from these higher prices attract attention. The

American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

and the

Chicago Board Options Exchange Oil Index

were lately edging higher. Natural gas stocks had soared yesterday as natural gas prices hit new 10-year highs. Oil services stocks were lately off, however, with the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

, which tracks the sector, losing 2.97%. Oil service companies had been climbing since the beginning of the month.

Retailers were gaining this morning. To be sure, the holiday shopping season got off to a slow start. But over the weekend, people went to the stores in droves to get last-minute gifts. The

Standard & Poor's Retail Index

, full of companies that had declined because of disappointing sales, was gaining 2.6%.

The bad news is that the last-minute sales were not enough to save the season. In its weekly sales report yesterday, for example,



said same-store sales for December likely wouldn't reach the company's growth target of about 3%. And

Goldman Sachs

this morning cut earnings estimates on some apparel retailers, including



, which was shaking off the announcement to rise 7.7%. Wal-Mart was up 3.2%, bouncing back from losses yesterday.

took a look at how the holiday season

was turning out and at how

sales soared at some e-tailers.

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Sector Watch

Chip stocks, whose fortunes have been falling along with the lower computer sales, were lately making gains. The stocks of companies that make chips -- the brains inside computers -- and the equipment for making those chips have been on a roller coaster. The

Philadelphia Semiconductor Index

, which tracks the sector, was up 4.8%. Chipmaking giant



was gaining 1.1%, while rival

Advanced Micro Devices


was adding 3.1%.

Tobacco and drug stocks were edging higher, but few sectors had enough strength to move the market in a particular direction.

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Following its losses yesterday, the

10-year Treasury note was slipping again. It was lately down 8/32 to 104 31/32, yielding 5.088%. Prices and yields move in opposite directions.

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