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8/24/2004
05:38 PM
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Tech Stocks Struggle In Muddled Markets

Oil prices fell again, but investors virtually ignored the decline.

Oil prices fell again Tuesday, but investors all but ignored the decline, leaving stocks mixed. Tech stocks fell in response to a brokerage downgrade of Cisco Systems.

Two days of falling prices weren't enough for cautious investors to get back into the market--despite attractive prices. Many investors also stayed on the sidelines in advance of next week's Republican National Convention or were waiting for the government's employment report for August, due at the end of next week.

The Dow Jones industrials rose 25.58 points, or 0.2%, to 10,098.63. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.51 of a point, or 0.1%, to 1,096.19, and the tech-focused Nasdaq composite index fell 1.81 points, or 0.1%, to 1,836.89. The InformationWeek 100 fell 2.02 points, or 0.7%, to 279.79. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock fell 1 cent to $33.08 as more than 88.5 million shares changed hands.

An increase in stock options granted by Cisco caused UBS to lower its price target for the network equipment maker by $1 per share. Cisco slid 21 cents to $18.97. Tech shares have been closely watched as they begin more thorough accounting of their stock options, a key part of many companies' compensation for employees.

IT spending could rise over the next three years, according to a new survey by Accenture. However, the news failed to give tech shares a boost. Intel fell 22 cents to $21.67, Microsoft was unchanged at $27.24, and Applied Materials fell 29 cents to $15.93.

See the full listing of all the companies in the InformationWeek 100 and the top 5 percentage winners and losers for the last closing here.

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