Market Movers: Chips Ahoy

SAN FRANCISCO (08/28/2000) - It's official: The sector of the month is semiconductors. Despite a generally lackluster market and continuing investor skepticism toward technology stocks, semiconductor stocks are going up and up, with today's rise marking six consecutive days of gains for semiconductor stocks. Among the winners were Analog Devices Inc., National Semiconductor Corp. and Novellus.

Indeed, semiconductor success provided almost all of today's most dramatic market activity. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq clung to their opening levels before finally closing slightly down. The Dow lost 0.08 percent, or 9.16, to 11046.48. The Nasdaq lost 0.27 percent, or 10.53, to 3930.34.

Two new offerings roared upward today, despite the flat market. Integrated Telecom Express, a broadband communications company, surged 38 percent above its US$18 offer price, closing at $24.88. And WJ Communications, also in the broadband business, gained a whopping 102 percent, climbing $16.25 to close at $32.25.

Agilent Technologies was another crowd pleaser, if an unexpected one. The Hewlett-Packard spinoff rose 1 percent today, adding to the 20 percent boost it got from Thursday's strong earnings announcement. Though Agilent had warned of declining profits last month, saying it expected earnings of 18 to 22 cents per share, it achieved earnings of 34 cents, blowing past investors' expectations.

It rose 56 cents to close at $56.31.

Large-cap techs were mixed, but mostly flat. A big loser among Internet stocks was EBay, which lost nearly 13 percent, closing the day down $8.06, at $55.

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