NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks rose sharply today as technology shares rallied for a third straight session and AT&T's $32 billion takeover of cable giant TCI ignited a new wave of merger speculation.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 95 points to 8,923, padding Tuesday's 117-point gain and posting its best finish in two weeks.

The Nasdaq composite index rose about 33 points after gaining 63 on Monday and Tuesday. The technology-heavy index has now surged about 162 points, or 9.4 percent, in just seven sessions, and sits just 40 points below April 22's record of 1,917.61.

The blue-chip advance pushed other popular indexes to sizable gains, but the broad market lagged behind with advancing issues outnumbering decliners by just a 5-to-4 margin.

The Dow's turnaround from an early 50-point drop came despite a sharp decline from AT&T, which fell the equivalent of about 20 Dow points on news of the deal to buy Tele-Communications Inc. Shares of TCI rose as the most active Nasdaq issue.

Overseas, Tokyo's Nikkei stock average rose 0.5 percent, Frankfurt's DAX index rose 1.1 percent and London's FT-SE 100 rose 0.6 percent.