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TECH STOCKS: Good News On Unemployment Boosts Markets

A drop in the number of new unemployment cases gave the markets a spark.

Wall Street shifted back into buying mode for most of Thursday before a bout of selling resurfaced late in the day, but the major indexes ultimately more than made up for Wednesday's losses. Good news came in the form of a notable drop-off in the initial jobless-claims report, which tracks the number of new applicants seeking unemployment benefits.

Leading the rebound was Yahoo, which shot up $3.96, or 10.2%, to $42.75 after delivering better-than-expected earnings news following the closing bell Wednesday. Other tech bellwethers achieved much more modest gains. Cisco Systems rose 16 cents, or 0.8%, to $20.95, Microsoft rose 12 cents, or 0.4%, to $28.94, Intel rose 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $29.77, and Sun Microsystems rose 9 cents, or 2.6%, to $3.55. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock registered comparable gains, rising 22 cents, or 0.6%, to close at $34.65 on heavy volume of 115.9 million shares. Notable losers included Oracle, which fell 30 cents, or 2.4%, to $12.33.

The Nasdaq was the big winner among the indexes, rising 18.12 points, or nearly 1%, to 1,911.90--its highest close since March 2002--while the InformationWeek 100 rose 1.81 points, or 0.6%, to 298.80. The Dow industrials rose 49.11 points, or 0.5%, to 9,680.01, a level not seen since June 2002, and the S&P 500 rose 4.95 points, or 0.5%, to 1,038.73.

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