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TECH STOCKS: Nasdaq Passes 2,000 As Techs Lead Rally

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index closed over the 2,000 mark for the first time in 23 months.

Christmas may be over, but it looks like Santa Claus had a few presents left for investors. U.S. markets rallied on Monday, driving the Nasdaq index to a close above 2,000 for the first time in almost two years, and the Dow to its best close in 21 months. The major indexes typically post mild gains during this midholiday week.

The markets got a lift from early indications that the holiday shopping season went well. That included a report from MasterCard that consumer spending was up 6.5% compared with last year.

Tech issues had a good day, with chip stocks helping push gains. Advanced Micro Devices rose 4%, or 58 cents, to $15.28; Cypress Semiconductor rose 3.5%, or 74 cents, to $21.69; Intel rose 2.5%, or 79 cents, to $32.15; Applied Materials rose 2.5%, or 55 cents, to $22.72; Texas Instruments rose 2.1%, or 59 cents, to $29.42; and Motorola rose 2.03%, or 28 cents, to $14.04.

For the day, the tech-dominated Nasdaq index rose 1.7%, or 33.34 points, to 2,006.48. It hadn't closed above 2,000 since Jan. 15, 2002, when it stood at 2,000.91. The InformationWeek 100 rose 1.8%, or 5.45 points, to 316.52. The Nasdaq 100 tracking stock rose 1.7%, or 59 cents, to $36.44, on volume of 83.1 million shares.

Less tech-heavy indexes also posted gains. The Dow industrials rose 1.2%, or 125.33 points, to 10,450.00, its highest close since March 21, 2002. The Dow closed above 10,000 for the first time in 18 months on Dec. 11. The S&P 500 rose 1.2%, or 13.59 points, to 1,109.48.

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