Technology investors finally kicked the door in Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite closed up 46 points to an all-time high of 3,027.84. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 27 points to 10,609.06.
Most of the Nasdaq's gains were made by a handful of stocks including Qualcomm, Oracle and some of the leading Internet issues.
It also helped that US factory orders fell 0.9 percent in September, further than expected. It was the index's first drop in five months, as orders for transportation products plunged. The conference board also said its index of leading indicators slipped 0.1 percent, a little more than the flat reading economists had expected.
"It looks like technology is going nuts," said William Cheney, the chief economist at John Hancock Funds. "There is some technology weakness heading into Y2K, but it's clear that business investment is still hot and technology is where it's at."
Qualcomm shot up 35 11/16 to 260 1/2 after topping analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter and setting a 4-for-1 stock split.
Oracle closed up 4 5/16 to 57 5/16 after it and Ford Motor announced a joint venture to create an Internet network linking the No. 2 US. auto maker with its 30,000 suppliers Tuesday. Microsoft lost 9/16 to 92 and Sun Microsystems charged up 2 7/8 to 106 9/16.
Dell rose 13/16 to 42. Compaq lost 1/8 to 18 13/16 while Gateway and Apple added 1 5/16 and 1 1/4 a share, respectively.
Internet stocks generally enjoyed a banner day.
Yahoo! picked up 2 5/8 to 180 5/8. America Online (AOL) shot up 5 ¾ to 138 7/8. Lycos rose 3 1/2 to 54 5/8 while Amazon.com and Infoseek shed 5/8 and 2 5/16 a share, respectively. Excite@Home closed unchanged at 38 3/8.
Be Free rocketed up 17 to 29 after it pricing its 5.6-million share initial public offering at $12 each.
Xoom.com rose 1/4 to 64 after announcing it has scheduled a meeting November 24 for stockholders to vote on the proposed NBC Internet transactions that have been in the works since May.
Winstar Communications, gained 3 11/16 to 44 1/16 after it racked up a third quarter net loss of $179 million, or $3.28 a share, but handily beat First Call's expected loss of $3.44 a share.
Commerce One hustled up 46 15/16 to 254 on news of a deal with General Motors to link its suppliers, dealers and other businesses in a "virtual marketplace" for products, raw materials, parts and services.
Networking stocks weren't as fortunate as Lucent Technologies gained 21/32 to 65 5/16 but Cisco Systems and 3Com lost 2 and 9/16 a share, respectively.
Intel closed up 2 1/16 to 79 1/2. IBM lopped off 3/8 to 94 7/16 and AMD closed up 3/4 to 21 5/16.
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