It's hard to keep a strong market down. That's the word on the Street as today's sagging market begins a turnaround.

"Given the move we've had, we should expect these kinds of consolidations," said Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist for

Ladenburg Thalmann

. "We need a little pause that refreshes."

That pause came this morning as the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

tobogganed 175.59 to 9088.49 soon after opening, before climbing back to a recent loss of 118 to 9146. The

S&P 500

was off 6 to 1229 and the small-cap

Russell 2000

was down 2 to 422.

"I bet you the tech stocks rally this afternoon," added Dwyer, speaking before the midday tech recovery. "All this popping talk is usually indicative of a coming rally."

Not surprisingly, market watchers and traders say it's the tech sector that's driving today's down-and-up action. "It's a pretty interesting day," said Paul Rich, a trader with

BT Brokerage

. "I see a turnaround in the tech sector."

Investors praying that the dip presented an opportunity to scoop up some good deals got their wish. Indeed, Dwyer characterized today's building as not just dip buying but "buying buying."

The tech-studded

Nasdaq Composite Index

, having fallen as much as 40.90 to 2303.82 earlier, lately was up 4 to 2348.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 14 to 496, also recovering from a tough morning.

"This is a typical corrective phase for what remains a fundamentally strong market," added the bullish Dwyer, who says the triumvirate of low inflation, low interest rates and solid earnings reports bode well for the markets.

Long Live the Internet

After momentarily coming back down to earth this week, Net stocks are on the rise again. Today's leaders include Net auctioneer

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

, up 9 1/2, or 5.2%, to 192 even as the lock-up restriction on insider sales expires.

Broadcast.com

(BCST)

is showing some legs, too, up 11 1/2, or 10.6%, to 120. And Net darlings

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

are showing signs of strength. Amazon has lurched up 15 1/16, or 14.2%, to 121 and Yahoo! was up 12 11/16 to 277 1/2.

The old school tech sectors of chips and software continue to surge on positive earnings announcements.

BMC Software

(BMCS)

for example, was up 5 7/16, or 14.1%, to 43 15/16 following yesterday's news that the systems-management software maker soundly beat analyst's expectations for the third quarter of fiscal 1999. And

Lattice Semiconductor

(LSCC) - Get Report

has surged 3 13/16, or 8%, to 51 3/4 after beating the Street's expectations.

Breadth was negative with volume on the light side compared with what it has been lately. On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were outpacing advancers 1,808 to 988 on 428 million shares. In

Nasdaq Stock Market

action, decliners were beating advancers 2,128 to 1,506 on 580 million shares.

Friday's Midday Movers

By Heather Moore
Staff Reporter

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

, whose positive earnings have been pricing into the stock for weeks, was down 14 1/16, or 7.1%, to 182 15/16 following

last night's fourth-quarter report of $2.47 a share, 2 cents higher than the 21-analyst

First Call

expectation and up from the year-ago $2.11. Big Blue's CFO said in a conference call that the company made progress on picking up the pace of growth in the fourth quarter and it sees the momentum carrying into this year. He backed predictions of industry technology spending growing at an 8% to 9% rate in 1999 and said the still-struggling PC sector "sure feels a lot better than it has at any time in the past few years."

Today,

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

dropped the stock to outperform from strong buy while upping its price target to 210 a share from 181.

Credit Suisse First Boston

increased its 1999 earnings estimate to $7.50 a share from $7.42 while upping its price target to 230 a share from 185.

Salomon Smith Barney

raised its price target to a range of 230 to 240 from 215.

In other news:

Software firm

Allaire

(ALLR)

was up 20 3/4, or 103.7%, to 40 3/4 in its trading debut today. The 2.5 million-share IPO was priced at 20 this morning by Credit Suisse First Boston.

Elsewhere among new offerings,

NVidia

(NVDA) - Get Report

was up 8, or 66.7%, to 20 1/16 in its 3.5 million-share IPO. The offering of shares in the 3D graphics company priced at 12 a share last night by underwriter Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

Excite

(XCIT)

was helping to bring back Internet stocks today, lately up 4 1/8 to 90 5/16, after

Bear Stearns

upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and the company's CEO made an appearance on

CNBC

.

International Microcomputer Software

(IMSI)

was up 1 1/4, or 10.5%, to 13 on market chatter the company is thinking of spinning off its e-commerce operation,

ArtToday.com

, and taking it public.

Primestar

agreed to sell its satellite businesses to

Hughes Electronics

(GMH)

in two transactions for about $1.82 billion.

TCI Satellite Entertainment

(TSATA)

, the publicly traded section of Primestar, was down 1 9/32, or 51.3%, to 1 7/32 on the deal. Hughes was up 1 13/16 to 46 9/16.

Earnings/revenue movers

Air Products & Chemicals

(APD) - Get Report

was down 5/16 to 36 5/16 after posting first-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, a penny shy of the 12-analyst view but up from the year-ago 53 cents.

Atmel

(ATML)

was up 2 9/16, or 16%, to 18 9/16 after last night beating fourth-quarter earnings estimates by 2 cents a share. Today,

BT Alex. Brown

raised the stock to buy from market perform.

Becton Dickinson

(BDX) - Get Report

was down 3 13/16, or 10.4%, to 33 after both Credit Suisse First Boston and

Warburg Dillon Read

separately downgraded the stock to hold from buy. Last night, the company posted first-quarter earnings of 29 cents a share, in line with expectations.

BMC Software was up 5 5/8, or 14.6%, to 44 1/8 after last night recording third-quarter earnings a nickel ahead of expectations.

C-Cube Microsystems

(CUBE) - Get Report

was down 5 3/16, or 17.5%, to 24 7/16 after last night posting fourth-quarter earnings of 31 cents a share, on target with estimates.

Dominion Resources

(D) - Get Report

was up 3/16 to 44 11/16 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents, beating the 14-analyst view by a penny but falling below the year-earlier 47 cents.

Fortune Brands

(FO)

was down 1/2 to 32 1/8 after recording fourth-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, in line with the eight-analyst view and up from the year-ago 51 cents.

FVC.com

(FVCX)

was down 2 3/8, or 18.3%, to 10 11/16 after last night forecasting that its fourth-quarter results will not meet expectations. The five-analyst estimate called for earnings of 6 cents a share from the developer of broadband video networking equipment.

Iomega

(IOM)

was down 13/16, or 9%, to 8 1/4 after last night warning it sees first-quarter results coming in at break-even and that two members of its senior management team quit. The company said it's realigning its operations to focus on business functions instead of three decentralized product business units. Analysts called for 4 cents in the first quarter vs. the year-earlier 7 cents. The company also posted fourth-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the six-analyst forecast but below the year-ago 13 cents.

Just for Feet

(FEET)

was down 3 5/16, or 18.6%, to 14 1/2 after last night predicting its fourth-quarter earnings will be lower than the seven-analyst estimate for profits of 25 cents a share.

Lattice Semiconductor was up 4 1/16, or 8.5%, to 51 15/16 after last night topping third-quarter earnings estimates by 2 cents a share.

Maxtor

(MXTR)

was down 1 3/16, or 6.1%, to 18 7/16 even after last night reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 31 cents a share, above the outlook for 12 cents but below the year-ago 52 cents.

Mentor

(MNTR)

was down 1 5/16, or 6.1%, to 20 1/8 after last night missing third-quarter earnings estimates by 3 cents a share.

Quaker Fabric

(QFAB)

was down 1 3/4, or 30.1%, to 4 1/8 after last night warning that it expects its fourth-quarter results to come in near the third quarter's 4 cents a share, citing lower-than-expected incoming orders. The three-analyst estimate called for 16 cents vs. the year-earlier 21 cents.

Sunrise Medical

(SMD)

was down 1 13/16, or 18.2%, to 8 1/8 after last night posting second-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share, falling below forecasts for 17 cents.

Sybase

(SYBS)

was up 1 7/8, or 22.1%, to 10 3/8 after last night beating fourth-quarter earnings estimates by 5 cents a share.

Tribune

(TRB)

was down 1 7/16 to 63 15/16 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of 72 cents a share, beating the 17-analyst view of 70 cents and moving ahead of the year-earlier 62 cents.