NASDAQ Continues Climb; Dow Falls

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Technology stocks stretched their winning streak to four sessions Wednesday as the market grew more optimistic about the sector's chances for recovery this year. But investors were still cautious, opting to cash in some blue chip profits.

The Nasdaq Composite index closed up 52.36 at 2,220.60.

Other market indicators were mixed. The Dow Jones industrials fell 21.66 to 10,876.68 after reaching their highest close in nearly three months on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index inched up 0.99 to 1,267.43.

Calling the Dow's pullback normal after its recent rally, analysts said the market is strengthening and that investors have several reasons to feel more secure about buying stocks -- chiefly a healthier economy and stronger than expected profits.

The major indexes offer proof of investors' increasing optimism. On Tuesday, the Dow finished at 10,898.34, its best close since Feb. 13, when it reached 10,903.32. More spectacularly, the Nasdaq has climbed 35.5 percent from its closing low for the year, 1,638.80, reached less than a month ago on April 4.

Tech stocks led the market Wednesday. Cisco Systems rose $2.20 to $20 after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter analyst Chris Stix said the networking equipment maker's North American business has stabilized. Applied Micro Circuits, also a networker, advanced $1.08 to $27.54.

But traders cashed in some profits in non-tech sectors that have surged higher the past few weeks. The market is still concerned about how long it will take for earnings and the economy to show substantial improvement, analysts said. …