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TECHNOLOGY ISSUES LEAD MARKET HIGHER

Stocks were holding solid gains late this afternoon, led by the technology group, which repaired some of last week's damage in quiet trading before today's profit reports from IBM and Microsoft.

At 3 p.m. the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 57.96 at 7,904.99 after recovering from an early 31-point deficit.

The Nasdaq composite index, which slid 4 percent last week amid disappointing earnings reports from big-name technology companies, was posting the most sizable gains, but pulled back from the day's highs amid news of another spat between Microsoft and the Justice Department.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners today by an 8-to-5 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was down sharply from Friday's busy pace.

Microsoft was down 1 1/4 at 131 after a federal court was asked to impose an unprecedented $1 million-a-day fine on the software giant for requiring personal computer makers to license and distribute its Internet browser. Justice said Microsoft's strategy violates a 1995 court order barring it from anti-competitive practices.

AT&T was up 2 at 47 3/1 6 as the Dow's biggest gainer after reporting better-than-expected profits for the third quarter.

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