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Market Roundup: Despite Strong Earnings, Market Dips

Despite positive earnings reports from some key players, the stock market took a hit today. The Dow closed down 22.16 to 11,187.68, the Nasdaq lost 34.19 to 2830.29, and the S&P 500 tumbled 11.13 to 1407.65.

Saga Software Systems Inc. (NYSE--AGS) topped the InformationWeek 100 winners lists, gaining 1-1/16, or 8.6%, to 13-3/8 after the Patricia Seybold Group put out a release advising companies shopping for a software integration product to look at Saga's Sagavista.

In other software-related news, Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq--SYMC) gained 8.4%, rising 2-1/2 to 32-1/4 after being upgraded by Prudential Securities. Earlier this month, Symantec announced plans to launch a new online software shop, which will be managed by Beyond.com. Symantec, a maker of utility software, says the online site will be rolled out over the next four months.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard (Nasdaq--HWP) gained 2-1/4 to close at 116-1/4 after it named Lucent Technologies' (NYSE--LU) Carleton Fiorina as its new president and CEO. Fiorina was group president in charge of sales to phone companies for Lucent. Lucent closed down 5/16 to 78-1/8.

Bellwether stocks IBM (NYSE--IBM) and Microsoft (Nasdaq--MSFT) dropped prior to strong earnings reports for the second quarter and fourth quarter, respectively, released after the bell today.

IBM lost 1-5/8 to close at 134-5/8. IBM's second-quarter earnings exceeded analyst expectations by 3 cents a share. For the second quarter ended June 30, IBM posted net income of $2.4 billion, or 91 cents a share, including a tax benefit of about $700 million, on revenue that increased 16% to $21.9 billion.

Microsoft lost 1-1/16 to close at 98-3/8 before announcing net income of $2.2 billion, or 40 cents per share, compared with $1.357 billion, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier for the period ended June 30. Greg Maffei, Microsoft CFO, said several factors, including the year 2000 and uncertain global economic conditions, could hamper growth next year.

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