Nasdaq closes in on 4,000

US economic data helps push indexes up, with record close for Nasdaq
Written by Larry Barrett, Contributor

Technology stocks made modest gains Wednesday, lifting the Nasdaq composite another 26 points to a record close of 3,936.97. The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 3 points to 11,203.60.

The Gross Domestic Product, which measures goods and services domestically produced, rose at a 5.7 percent annual pace in the third quarter. The data, released by the Commerce Department, suggests the economy is going strong, and may need a rate hike again in February to keep inflation in check.

"You can't really go by what happens this week and next week because this is just sort of wacky action," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. "You've got tax selling, window dressing, year-end action. It's just not normal stuff and what ends up happening is you get a bigger divergence -- the losers are bigger losers and the winners are bigger winners."

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer rose 9/16 to 50 5/16; Gateway fell 2 to 70; Apple Computer lost 2 9/16 to 99 15/16 and Compaq Computer closed off 1/2 to 27 7/16.

Network-equipment maker 3Com fell 4 11/16 to 48 7/16 as analysts lowered earnings estimates after the company beat second quarter estimates, but warned of flat revenue ahead. Cisco Systems shed 1 1/2 to 102 1/2 and Lucent Technologies lopped off 2 3/4 to 76 3/4.

Network Solutions jumped 4 3/4 to 272 1/4 after it said it will split its stock, review its business structure and make a secondary stock offering. Cognos closed up 5 3/4 to 43 7/8 after analysts upgraded the company based on its third quarter earnings.

Telecommunications equipment company Tellabs said on Wednesday it is acquiring closely held SALIX Technologies, a provider of voice over Internet services among other things, for about $300m (£186m) in stock. Its shares closed off 13/16 to 64 7/16.

Corel, which recently hit a 52-week high of 44 1/8 on Linux hype, plummeted 5 3/8 to 13 3/16 after it shocked investors Wednesday with a profit warning. America Online shed 1 15/16 to 83 1/16 after it said it will buy MapQuest.com, , in an all-stock deal valued at about $1.1bn. AOL said the deal will enhance its "AOL Anywhere" strategy.

Yahoo! gained 13 3/16 to 418 3/4. Lycos dropped 2 5/8 to 89 1/2 and Amazon.com closed off 2 3/16 to 97 11/16.

Microsoft trimmed 2 9/16 to 99 15/16 and Oracle shot up 7 3/8 to 105 1/16.

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