Techs Finish Higher; Blue Chips Flat

AOL Time Warner Inc. fell $1.50 to $42.80. A round of layoffs is about to hit the company's Internet unit as the media giant tries to ensure it will meet its 2001 financial targets, sources familiar with the situation said.

ROHN Industries Inc. tumbled more than 37 percent, or $2.17 to $3.68. The telecommunications equipment provider, warned it would not meet its 2001 financial forecasts due to the continued spending cuts by customers amid the global economic slowdown.

Cendant Corp. agreed to buy discount air ticket seller Cheap Tickets Inc. for $425 million in cash, as the franchising giant looks to break into the online travel agency business. Cheap Tickets soared 37.80 percent, or $4.48 to $16.33, while Cendant was up 46 cents at $19.66.

Investors Await Key Earnings, Economic Data

This week Wall Street braces for earnings reports from key companies such as home improvement retailer Home Depot, retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores, top computer-chip equipment maker Applied Materials and computer maker Hewlett-Packard.

Investors will also take cues from a heavy economic calendar that includes weak July retail sales, ahead of the open on Tuesday.

Also on the plate this week are reports such as June business inventories as well as July figures for U.S. industrial production and capacity utilization, due on Wednesday, and Thursday's U.S. Consumer Price Index for July, a key gauge of retail level inflation, and weekly jobless claims numbers.

Friday brings a preliminary consumer sentiment reading for August from the University of Michigan.

But no key data was slated for release today.

"I don't think anyone is looking to be very aggressive unless we get some surprise information, some major takeover or something. This week we have a lot of economic numbers, that will bounce us around," said Tom Sparico, trader at hedge fund Bengal Partners in Stamford, Connecticut.

"The big picture is that the (economic) slowdown is decelerating but given the murkiness of the future outlook as far as how long it will take to really get capital spending going … the recovery is going to be sluggish."

Friday’s Dow Rally

U.S. blue-chip stocks posted their biggest rise in a month Friday, reversing steep losses, as Wall Street bet that good inflation news would encourage the Federal Reserve to whittle away again at interest rates and spur growth in the nation's floundering economy.

Technology stocks notched small losses, recovering from a more than 2 percent tumble early in the day after analysts slashed their earnings forecasts for software giants like Oracle.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 117.69 points, or 1.14 percent, to 10,416.25, and the Nasdaq composite indexdipped 6.85 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,956.47. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 6.73 points, or 0.57 percent, to 1,190.16.

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