The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and the

Nasdaq Composite Index

quarreled over interest rates and corporate earnings at the opening bell this morning and decided to go their separate ways. The Dow headed north, while the Comp went south, leaving stocks, in general, mixed.

The Dow was rising 58.32 to 11,569.40, doing a decent job of erasing a 61-point drop yesterday. Strength came courtesy of a range of blue chips including

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

up 2.9%, and

General Motors

rising 4.3%. Unlike most of its other tech brethren,

Intel

was on the upswing 4.2% ahead of its earnings report.

The overalll tech sector was working hard -- with limited success -- to throw some selling pressure off its back.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

was taking it on the chin again, sliding 23 13/16, or 6%, to 373 1/2, despite reporting better-than-expected earnings and a 2-for-1 stock split last night. Lately it seems you can't whisper Yahoo! without someone shouting "Sell!".

After peaking around 475 on Jan.3, the stock went into a tailspin, with today's action putting it nearly 100 points below that high. Of course,

downturn

is a relative term here, especially for anyone who has held the stock even from the beginning of 1999 when it was trading around 118.

"We're continuing a slight downtrend in tech stocks in general," said Pat Dwyer, head of institutional sales in New York for

Cantor Fitzgerald

. "People want to sit back and watch," ahead of the

Federal Reserve's

next policy meeting February 1 and 2. "We're seeing a little caution. People are hedging bets," about whether the Fed will hike interest rates 25 or 50 basis points, said Dwyer, who thinks the market has already built in a 25-basis-point hike.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 28.79 to 1065.9. Contributing to the DOT's slide was

America Online

(AOL)

off 5.5%, as it continues to deal with the lingering headache from Monday's

merger hoopla.

Time Warner

(TWX)

wasn't looking too pretty either, off 7.1%.

Telecom stocks were higher, with the

Nasdaq Telecommunications Index

up 1.2%.

MCI Worldcom

(WCOM)

jumping 5.9% after a positive note from

Salomon Smith Barney

.

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

was lifting 4.2% after last night reaffirming positive earnings estimates and revenue growth.

The

S&P 500

was down 2.43 to 1436.13, while the small-cap

Russell 2000

was down 2.07 to 490.54.

Breathe, Breathe in the Air

"I wouldn't characterize the

recent action in tech stocks as anything but a breather," said Dan Marciano, head of trading at

First Albany

"It looks like there is still some money waiting to come into the market," he said, referring to large November and December inflows to money market funds. Marciano thinks once the

Producer Price Index

on Thursday and the

Consumer Price Index

on Friday, are out of the way there will be a better sense of what kind of a rate hike the Fed has in store.

Marciano said he would not be surprised if a quarter-point rate hike is followed shortly by another quarter-point rise. "That is just the way the market feels. That is what it will tolerate," he said, while expressing confidence in Fed head

Alan Greenspan's

strategy. "Greenspan wants a soft landing scenario and he seems to be very good at it."

Lately, the benchmark 30-year Treasury was down 1/32 to 92 28/32, its yield at 6.68%.

Market Internals

Breadth was positive on the Big Board, but negative on the Nasdaq on moderately heavy volume.

New York Stock Exchange:

1,259 advancers, 1,645 decliners, 567 million shares. 38 new 52-week highs, 52 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market:

1,727 advancers, 2,139 decliners, 900 million shares. 102 new highs, 57 new lows.