Stocks were mixed today, with the biggest names in technology outperforming the rest of the market. A sinking dollar held most stocks lower.
At 3 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 9.18 at 11,027.16.
Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 3.45 at 1,340.70, and the Nasdaq composite index was up 14.10 at 2,822.84.
Internet and technology companies were the strongest performers in a relatively quiet, flat market. IBM, up 4 1/1 6 to 134 1 3/1 6, helped the Dow contain its losses.
Yahoo rose 5 5/1 6 to 158 3/4 after Lehman Brothers raised its rating on the stock to "outperform" from "neutral." And online auctioneer eBay rose 5 7/1 6 to 140 1 3/1 6.
Red Hat, which sells Linux software, rose 6 1/2 to 123 1/4 . The company's shares have been on a tear as it attracts more coverage from Wall Street brokerages, and got a further boost this week from Gateway Inc.'s decision to join the Linux operating system reseller program.
"The big-cap technology stocks are performing well, and everything else is middling at best," said Joseph V. Battipaglia, chief investment strategist at Gruntal & Co.
The broader market was hampered by the dollar's continuing decline against the Japanese yen. After the Japanese government released a stronger-than-expected report on the nation's economic growth, the dollar fell to 107.67 yen, down from 110.76 yen Wednesday.
Weakness in the dollar has been a persistent undercurrent in the U.S. stock market in recent weeks, as improving economies in Asia and Europe attract investors who previously sought out U.S. securities.
A weak dollar also makes imports more expensive, laying the ground for price inflation. That threat further unsettled investors, who are already worried that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for a third time this year in its effort to quell inflation.
American Home Products dropped 2 9/1 6 to 39 3/4 amid reports that the company is facing a federal investigation involving the government's 1996 approval of the drug Redux. American Home Products has already seen its share price battered as the company faces thousands of civil lawsuits over its diet drugs, which have been linked to heart valve problems.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 10-to-9 margin on the New York Stock Exchange.