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After an initial pop into the green, the major indices lost their snap and crackle, and slipped southward.

After the

Nasdaq Composite Index posted meager losses yesterday, stocks were precariously trying to hold onto Friday's dazzling record gains. Mixed earnings reports this morning and jitters over key reports from heavy-hitters






may be responsible for the turnaround.

IBM and



were initially carrying the Dow higher, but some mixed earnings reports this morning sent the index into the red shortly after the open.

Microsoft was climbing 2.7% to $51.75 after

Goldman Sachs

said the company's shares may be due for a relief rally, particularly if the company's results show some ramping in corporate-PC demand. IBM, meanwhile, is up in anticipation that the company will report strong earnings after the close. The company's shares were rising 0.3% to $110.81.

Elsewhere on the Dow,



was falling despite reporting strong earnings this morning. The company also saw its 2000 and 2001 EPS raised by

UBS Warburg

. The company's shares were lately off 0.3% to $50.69.

Elsewhere in tech, the semiconductors may not have seen the end of their pain. After

Salomon Smith Barney

lowered Intel's price target and EPS estimate yesterday, the semiconductors had a nasty day. And analysts were sending out more negative vibes on the sector this morning. Several firms, including


, downgraded chipmaker

Micron Technology


, and UBS Warburg lowered its expectations for prices on commodity chips, or


Intel is making an effort to lower its chip prices, which some fear could bring about a price war with rival

Advanced Micro Devices


. Prices for other chips could then topple in sympathy.

Any drops in prices should have been great for the PC-makers, which use DRAM to make their machines. But they weren't getting any love.

On the happy side of tech, electronic-commerce software maker



was pretty popular with investors this morning after it was announced that it will be admitted to that exclusive corporate club, the

S&P 500. BroadVision will replace brokerage

PaineWebber Group


in the S&P 500 Index on Monday. BroadVision was the most active stock on the Nasdaq this morning, and was lately trading 11.8% higher to $26.63.

And a few stocks were hitting new highs, including fiber-optics company



and handheld-computer maker



. Ciena was up 1.2% to $136.75 and Handspring was up 3.9% to $80.56.

Ciena was up after UBS Warburg raised its 12-month price target to a whopping $175 from $108.

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Sector Watch

Despite news of the cease-fire agreement, oil prices had rebounded -- lately up 8 cents to $33. Concern that continued violence in the region might threaten supply to the U.S. -- where reserves are already critically low -- have pushed already high prices even higher over the past two weeks.


American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

was up 0.7% to 535.3. Internet Sector

index began to drop again after seeing some gains yesterday. Losses were lead by



, which was off 7.4% to $51.25, a new 52-week low. E-Commerce Index

was 3.7% lower to 31.07.

Biotechnology stocks continued higher following three days of rallying this morning, with the

Nasdaq Biotechnology Index

1.5% higher to 1204.2.

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Concerns about the Middle East continued to dominate trading in bond markets. The bond market has largely ignored the latest U.S.

industrial production


definition |

chart |


) data -- prices are flat to modestly lower. Industrial output for September rose 0.2% in September after a revised 0.4% gain in August, generating further evidence that the economy is slowing in line with the "soft-landing" theory.

This point is even more emphasized by reference to the quarterly track of this index. In the third quarter, output rose at only a 2.8% annual rate. In the prior period, the annual rate of growth was a strong 8.2%.

The 10-year note was up, though, higher by 4/32 to 100 7/32 and yielding 5.719%. The 30-year bond was higher by 9/32 to 106 14/32, yielding 5.792%.

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