On the heels of yesterday's 436-point loss on the

Dow Jones Industrial Average, the index -- which flip-flopped all day long -- ended solidly to the good.

As investors rotated out of defensive stocks and into tech issues, shares of

3M

(MMM) - Get Report

,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

and

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

were the biggest drags on the

blue-chip measure.

But while every Dow stock closed down yesterday,

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

,

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

,

J.P. Morgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

and others ended higher today.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index, which closed below 2000 yesterday for the first time since December 1998, ended near its highs for the session, and crossed back over the 2000 level. Groups on the upswing included the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

-- up 6.3%, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

-- ahead 5.2%, and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index -- higher by 5.6%.

Beware the Bounce of March!

In the face of today's tech gains, market gurus are advising that investors beware a sucker's rally (an early Ides of March, perhaps?), because there aren't any catalysts for a sustainable upturn. "We are way oversold here, but the problem with yesterday's selloff is that there was no real volume -- not enough to convince anyone we've seen a real bottom in here," said Ray Hawkins, vice president of block trading at

J.P. Morgan Chase

.

As if the headlines from

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

could get any worse. Just days after it set plans to slash up to 17% of its workforce, the networking giant

said it remains doubtful about its future.

"We are not seeing a turnaround," CEO John Chambers said this morning at the

Merrill Lynch

Global Investor conference in New York. Six weeks into the networking giant's fiscal third quarter, Chambers said, "We see the same slow growth we saw in January." Despite the comments, Cisco ended up 13.6% to $21.38 -- though its bad news was one of the catalysts for yesterday's plunge.

Elsewhere,

Motorola

(MOT)

said it's cutting 7,000 jobs in its cell-phone unit and taking a charge on its first- and second-quarter results. Motorola shares were up 1.6% to $15.20. Just yesterday, rival

Ericsson

(ERICY)

-- up 5% to $6.59 today, said it would report a loss instead of a profit for its upcoming fiscal first quarter.

The fact that some tech companies are bouncing off of bad news today gives Wall Street pros some incentive to be optimistic. "Arguably, we're closer to a bottom than we are to a top," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at

Jefferies

. "We're more than 60% off the Nasdaq's all-time-high."

In economic news, the

retail sales report for February, released this morning, confirmed that consumers curbed their spending significantly last month. Sales were much lower than economists had been expecting. The data help make the case for aggressive rate cuts to get the economy back on its feet. Indeed, the

fed fund futures contract, a good proxy for monetary policy, has fully priced in a 50 basis-point ease in the

fed funds rate at the

Federal Reserve's upcoming meeting on March 20.

On the mergers and acquisitions front, mobile-phone maker

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

-- ahead 2.8% to $22.05 -- announced it was selling two plants to contract manufacturer

SCI Systems

(SCI) - Get Report

. SCI was higher by 12.4% to $18.00. And diversified conglomerate

Tyco

(TYC)

was lower by 7.6% to $46.83 after it struck a deal to buy

CIT Group

(CIT) - Get Report

for about $9.2 billion. CIT was up a whopping 36.8% to $31.13 on the news.