Despite the market's ability to turn many of its early-morning losses into gains, few sectors were moving with conviction to the upside or downside.

Investors were finding some defensives, as well as computer hardware makers and chipmakers, appealing. Helped by

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

and other computer hardware makers, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

was rising 0.7%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was adding 1.7%.

All was not happy in tech land, however.

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

already hit a 52-week low of $14.75 on news that one of its suppliers

JNI

(JNIC)

was

cutting its first-quarter earnings estimates -- in part due to weakness in its major customer's business. Sun lately had bounced off its lows, but was still off 6% to $14.91. JNI had also visited 52-week lows, but was now down 13% to $7.94.

To be sure, investors weren't completely convinced tech was safe again, and those views were giving a lift to pharmaceuticals and tobacco. No matter how hard the times, people still need drugs and they tend to buy tobacco. The

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

was edging up 0.6%. The

American Stock Exchange Tobacco Index

was 1.4% higher.

Earlier today, drug maker

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

said it would form an independent company with software behemoth

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and PC maker

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

to develop software and services for doctors' practices and medical information. Pfizer, Microsoft and IBM were all higher in recent trading.

Energy stocks continued their slide that started at the beginning of the week, with the

American Stock Exchange Natural Gas Index

down 2% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

off 2.9%.