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7/31/2003
06:46 PM
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TECH STOCKS: The Tea Leaves Look Green

Our indexes closed in the black Thursday, but only after giving back most of the day's gains.

Our indexes closed in the black Thursday, but only after giving back most of the day's gains. Markets built up momentum early in response to upbeat gross-domestic-product and jobless-claim reports that indicate the economy's finally picking up steam.

The Commerce Department said GDP grew at a 2.4% annual rate in the second quarter, up from 1.4% in the first quarter--and much better than the 1.5% most economists predicted. The surprise was attributed to increased consumer and federal spending. Also, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell to 388,000 from 391,000 the previous week, raising hopes that the nation's labor market may be stabilizing.

Tech stocks were among the day's biggest gainers, including Intel and Cisco Systems, whose shares were up more than 1%. EMC rose almost 6% after J.P. Morgan raised its rating on the storage-system maker, but Network Appliance's stock fell more than 7% when J.P. Morgan cut its rating on the EMC competitor. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock (QQQ) closed at $31.77, up 35 cents, or 1.1%, on a respectable volume of nearly 80 million shares.

Our InformationWeek 100 rose 3.62 points, or 1.4%, to close at 256.56, while the Nasdaq index rose 14.23, or 0.8%, to finish the day at 1,735.02. The Dow rose 33.75 points, or 0.4%, to close at 9,233.80, while the S&P 500 rose 2.82, or 0.3%, to finish at 990.31.

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