Tech Stocks Continue to Lead Market Higher

With Greenspan ignoring rates in his testimony before a House panel, stocks are rising unimpeded.
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The tech sector was leading the market higher, with the

Nasdaq Composite Index

up 2%, while the prepared text of

Federal Reserve

Chairman

Alan Greenspan's

testimony mentioned nothing about the outlook for the economy or interest rates.

The Nasdaq Comp was up 41 to 2351.

In his prepared remarks before the

House Banking Committee

, Greenspan reiterated his support for legislation to overhaul old banking laws. Bank and brokerage stocks were soaring. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

was up 1%, while the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

surged 4%.

Elsewhere, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 6 to 9184. Dow component

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

was down 7/8 to 40 9/16. The stock fell on news that a San Francisco jury Wednesday awarded $50 million in punitive damages to a longtime smoker, assessing the damages against the company.

The

S&P 500

was up 9 to 1232. The

Russell 2000

was up 4 to 402. The small-cap proxy was the largest percentage loser among the major market indices yesterday, falling 1.3%.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was up 32 to 483.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was up 7 to 101.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 1/32 to 98 9/32, yielding 5.37%.

A couple of stocks this morning have made their trading debuts, including the stock of

Gabelli Asset Management

(GBL) - Get Report

, which was up 1/2 to 18. Its 6 million-share IPO priced within range Wednesday at $17.50 a share by

Salomon Smith Barney

. (

TheStreet.com

wrote about the offering

last night.)

Also making its trading debut today,

Korn/Ferry

(KFY) - Get Report

was down 7/16, or 3%, to 13 9/16.

On the merger-and-acquisition front,

Federated Department Stores

(FD)

fell 2 /16 to 40 7/16 on news it is buying

Fingerhut

(FHT)

, a direct marketing company. Fingerhut, meanwhile, spiked 5 11/16, or 30%, to 24 1/2.

Under the deal, Fingerhut shareholders will receive $25 per share in cash under a tender offer expected to commence within a week. The deal is valued at about $1.7 billion, which includes Fingerhut debt. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies.

9:55 a.m.: Stocks Head Higher Early with Techs Leading

Stocks were mostly higher early on with the

Nasdaq Composite Index

leading the way.

The Nasdaq Comp was up 21 to 2330.

Elsewhere, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 15 to 9162. The

S&P 500

was up 2 to 1225. The

Russell 2000

was up 3 to 401.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was up 16 to 466.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was up 5 to 99.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 1/32 to 98 8/32, yielding 5.37%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Vodafone (VOD) - Get Report, up 3 1/4 to 177

.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

CNet (CNET) - Get Report, up 20 15/16 to 112 1/4

: Yesterday the company declared a 2-for-1 stock split and posted earnings of 18 cents a share, 8 cents higher than the

First Call

11-analyst outlook and above the year-ago loss of 62 cents.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Policy Management (PMS) , down 2 1/8 to 38 1/4

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

Ortel (ORTL) , down 1 7/8 to 7 1/8

: The company said yesterday it will post a loss of about 9 cents a share in its fiscal third quarter. The First Call seven-analyst consensus currently sees the company earning 3 cents.