Stocks Struggle to Remain Positive in Choppy Trading

The tech sector is beginning to show some strength.
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Mixed performance remained the only certainty in marketland this afternoon, with tech stocks lately showing some signs of strength while the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

struggled around break-even.

The Dow was up 11 to 10,959, down from its session high of 11,003.24 but up from its low of 10,933.65. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 22 to 2494, well off its low of 2462.27.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

was leading the Dow, up 4 15/16 to 214 3/16 after

SoundView Technology Group

forecasted a strong second quarter for Big Blue and said it might raise earnings estimates.

The

S&P 500

was up 4 to 1336, the

Russell 2000

was up 1 to 435 and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 1 to 613.

The bond market continued to lurch drunkenly (not to cast aspersions on you bond traders), with the benchmark 30-year Treasury off 9/32 to 92 3/32. Its yield was up to 5.81%, continuing to establish a new top end to the yield range. The lighter-than-expected April

employment report spurred early strength in fixed-income, but continued spillover from

Fed

Chairman

Alan Greenspan's

comments yesterday has roiled the market.

New York Stock Exchange

decliners were just barely nudging past advancers, 1,441 to 1,410, on 537 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, 1,872 decliners were leading 1,861 advancers on 578 million shares. New 52-week highs were outpacing new lows 63 to 19 on the Big Board and 51 to 23 on the Nasdaq.

Most active on the NYSE was

America Online

(AOL)

, down 5/8 to 119 1/8 on 24 million shares.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

was the Nasdaq's most active issue, up 1 1/4 to 79 5/16 on 16 million shares.

1:12 p.m.: Midday Musings: Jobs-Report Excitement Yields to Uncertainty

12:15 p.m.: Stocks Mostly Higher After Jobs Data

Trends are lasting about two minutes each today, but, approaching midday, the market looked as if it was starting to take the

Labor Department's

nonthreatening

employment report to heart.

After surging at the open and then shyly backing all the way into shallow negative territory, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

lately was up 13 to 2486.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was leading the index's bellwethers, up 1 3/8 to 61 1/16.

Small-cap issues were near break-even, with the

Russell 2000

and

S&P SmallCap 600

both fractionally lower. Internet stocks were looking flat, with

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index up fractionally at 612.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and the

S&P 500

were up 25 to 10,972 and 6 to 1338, respectively.

The bond market was climbing back from a strange, quick early selloff this morning. The benchmark 30-year Treasury was up 6 to 92 18/32, its yield dropping to 5.78%.

Market internals weren't telling any tales.

New York Stock Exchange

decliners were leading advancers 1,416 to 1,308 on 388 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, 1,708 advancers were trailing 1,769 decliners on 404 million shares.

Most active on the NYSE was

America Online

(AOL)

, up 1 to 120 3/4 on 19 million shares.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

was the Nasdaq's most active issue, with 11 million shares changing hands. It was up 13/16 to 78 3/4.

Tech Focus

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was leading the major tech indices, up fractionally. The

Morgan Stanley High-Tech

was also up fractionally.

Computer hardware maker

Qlogic

(QLGC)

was burning up the Nasdaq, up 16 5/8 to 92 1/2 after the company last night posted first-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, a nickel above the 6-analyst

First Call

consensus and well up from the previous year's 23 cents.

Network connectivity firm

Emulex

(EMLX)

was also on fire, up 10 5/8 to 59 1/16. An Emulex spokesman attributed the action to the company's roadshow for its upcoming 2.1 million-share secondary offering.

Thomas Lepri

10:55 a.m.: Stocks Modestly Higher in Volatile Trading

If your broker tells you he understands what's going on in the market today, you might consider quietly moving your account someplace else.

"I'm so baffled about the whole thing," said Ned Collins, executive vice president of U.S. stocks at

Daiwa Securities America

.

There are simply too many cross-currents out there, and the action is far to choppy, for anyone to really know. The trading is most bizarre in the Treasury market, which has gone all over the place in reaction to an April

jobs report

that should have been unambiguously bond friendly. But the long bond's been all over the place. Up as much as 29/32, down as much as 14/32, it was lately up 9/32 to 92 22/32, dropping the yield to 5.77%.

And the stock market has been following the Treasuries around all morning. Which is to say that it's up. The stocks that performed the worst yesterday -- tech and other growth issues -- are faring the best, while things like the cyclicals, which yesterday posted gains, are acting like also-rans.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 13 to 10,960 and the S&P 500 was up 5 to 1337. The tech-buoyed

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 10 to 2482.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 1 to 613. The

Russell 2000

was up 1 to 434.

And so the market continues to defy those who expect a correction. "A lot of people are trying to wish the market down," said Collins. "But somehow it doesn't seem to want to comply with any wishes"

--

Justin Lahart

10:04 a.m.: Stocks Climb on Jobs Data

A market-friendly April

employment report has Wall Street's major stock indices trending higher, but the battered bond market still can't get much going.

The benchmark 30-year Treasury jumped just after the 8:30 a.m. EDT jobs release but lately was up just 3/32 to 92 14/32, its yield at 5.79%.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 19 to 10,965 and the

S&P 500

was up 5 to 1337. The tech-spiced

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 23 to 2496.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 13 to 625. The

Russell 2000

was up 2 to 435.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Sterling Commerce (SE) - Get Report, up 3 1/8 to 36 1/8:

The company late

yesterday posted earnings in line with expectations;

Warburg Dillon Read

today upped it to buy from hold.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

QLogic (QLGC) , up 11 1/2 to 87 3/8:

The company late yesterday reported stronger-than-expected earnings.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Newmont Mining (NEM) - Get Report, down 3 1/16 to 23.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

VerticalNet (VERT) , down 2 1/8 to 100 1/8.

--

John J. Edwards III