SAN FRANCISCO -- The tech sector looks as though it was able to absorb Monday's hit without any further damage. Progress has been steady through the morning, and buyers have gained confidence as stock advances have been maintained.

Dan Mathisson, head stock trader with

D.E. Shaw Securities

, said it was a tug of war between bulls and bears earlier today, with the bulls winning out. There is a tendency for investors to want to own Internet stocks after a big down day, he said, because the pattern has been for them to bounce back.

Mathisson said a lot of the institutions he deals with are viewing the recovery as temporary, but he feels the tech sector is tough to call because it's driven by sentiment.

"When dealing with sentiment as a primary motivator, it's difficult to speculate market direction, and this is a market driven by sentiment," he said.

Sentiment has improved for some of the bigger Internet plays.

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

is up sharply ahead of its first-quarter earnings report later

today. It was trading up 26 3/16, or 20%, at 154 13/16 lately.

Positive quarterly news from

E*Trade

(EGRP)

, which logged a narrower-than-expected second-quarter loss this morning, is helping online brokerage stocks today. E*Trade jumped 15 7/8, or 21%, to 89 1/4, while

Ameritrade

(AMTD) - Get Report

gained 22 5/8, or 25%, to 110 1/2.

Shares of

CNet

(CNET) - Get Report

have firmed after the company said it entered into marketing relationships with

Compaq

(CPQ)

,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

,

Gateway

(GTW)

and

Acer America

. CNet stock was up 13 1/4, or 15%, at 99 1/4 this afternoon.

On the downside, shares of

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

fell 5 1/2, or 8%, to 65. On Wednesday,

ICANN

, the nonprofit corporation created by the government to oversee competition in the domain-name business, is expected to choose five companies to compete with Network Solutions to register Internet domain names on a trial basis.

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

started to climb back from the losses that followed its first-quarter earnings announcement. Though Texas Instruments bested a 61-cent

First Call

earnings consensus with earnings of 65 cents a share, its stock fell more than 5 on the news.

Arnab Chanda, an analyst with

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

, said losses likely stemmed from the company's conference call with analysts, which he said was "very confusing." During the call, Chanda said, it appeared as if future earnings would be down substantially, but after talking to officials personally, he expects only a slight reduction in estimates for the year.

Texas Instruments traded to a low of 99 7/8, but recently was trading down 2 15/16, or 3%, at 102 1/16.