It's like

yesterday, only less compelling.

The earnings-driven momentum that enhanced the tech sector yesterday is sparse, and that's left the market numbed in a reasonably low-volume day. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

and the

Russell 2000

are still managing advances, while the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and

S&P 500

continue to slump.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was lately underwater, down 83, or 0.7%, to 11,268. Most of that decline could be blamed on

Procter & Gamble

,

(PG) - Get Report

, down 6 15/16, or 6.2%, to 105 5/8. The company is considering possible acquisitions of drug manufacturers

Warner-Lambert

(WLA)

and

American Home Products

(AHP)

.

"It's more or less that tech is not getting hit as hard as the consumer cyclicals and consumer staples which dominate the Dow," said Jeffrey Warantz, equity strategist at

Salomon Smith Barney

. "Some tech stocks are up a hair and down a hair, but there's nothing going on techwise, and therefore there's nothing going on Nasdaq-wise."

Regardless, the index continues to power higher. The gains, according to strategists, remain thin, and breadth is still a question in this index, as traders continue an opportunistic approach to buying. The Comp was lately up 37, or 0.9%, to 4226; any positive close would be a record. The

Russell 2000

was also higher, up 4, or 0.9%, to 532.

Still, the names that are responding to news don't have the strength to pull an Atlas, carrying the rest of their sectors on their backs. Yesterday, Nasdaq names such as

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

had

Carl Sandburg

appeal, but today the movers, such as

VerticalNet

(VERT)

, also a Russell 2000 stock, have much smaller shoulders.

VerticalNet was today one of the Nasdaq's top performers after announcing a $100 million investment from

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

yesterday. VerticalNet lately was up 43 1/16, or 22.3%, to 236 5/8. On the Big Board,

Avista

(AVA) - Get Report

was still benefiting from its announcement two days ago that

Bill Gates

was taking a 5% stake in the company. The stock was up 11 3/8, or 35.4%, to 43 1/2.

The Comp's most active was Microsoft, which, other than making investments, was trading on little news. The software company and defendant was lately down 1 3/16 to 104 13/16 on 23 million shares.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was strong, up 19, or 1.6%, to 1164.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

was helping out with a gain of 7 1/8 to 359.

Lucent

(LU)

was the NYSE's most active, after reporting disappointing first-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share last night. The stock was down 3/16 to 52 5/16 on 21.5 million shares. The 27-analyst consensus called for 37 cents.

The bond market continues to run scared from inflation threats such as higher crude oil prices.

OPEC

members are posturing that their 7% production cuts instituted in March 1999 could continue past the March 2000 expiration date, and the U.S. -- especially regions experiencing colder-than-usual weather -- is feeling the pinch of higher fuel and heating costs.

The 30-year Treasury bond was doing better today, up 8/32 to 92 10/32, yielding 6.73%. Crude oil futures traded on the

New York Mercantile Exchange

were lately up 49 cents to $28.46 a barrel.

As one would figure, the oil and gas companies are making hay today. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was up 3.3%. The

Dow Jones Transportation Average

was being grated like cheddar, lately down 0.7%, while the

Dow Jones Utilities Average

was solidly higher, up 1.7%.

Market Internals

New York Stock Exchange:

1,253 advancers, 1,617 decliners, 753 million shares. 84 new 52-week highs, 94 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market:

2,030 advancers, 1,840 decliners, 1.14 billion shares. 307 new highs, 53 new lows.

For a look at stocks in the midsession news, see Midday Movers, published separately.