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MIDDAY MARKETS: Cisco supports Nasdaq

Technology stocks were outpacing blue chips at midday Tuesday with a little help from Cisco Systems. The Nasdaq rose 5.38 points to 2,178.95, and the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 93.11 points to 10,842.06.

While a downgrade for American Express dragged the Dow into the red, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) helped keep the Nasdaq above water Tuesday. Economic news was released today, but the report--on worker productivity, which showed that worker output per hour fell at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the quarter--appeared to have little significance for the markets.

Shares of networking giant Cisco gained 94 cents to $20.19 on an upgrade from Morgan Stanley ahead of the company's earnings report, due after the bell. Analysts expect Cisco to report a humdrum quarter, but have observed that its enterprise business is improving.

IBM (NYSE: IBM), up 54 cents to $116.30, was also rising ahead of its analyst meeting Thursday, which is expected to be upbeat.

Spanish Internet company Terra Lycos (Nasdaq: TRLY) is cutting 15 percent of its workers in an effort to trim costs, in a quarter in which revenues fell short of Wall Street expectations. Shares were up 42 cents to $9.05.

Shares of Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN), up $4.46 to $59.74, surged Tuesday after TyCom announced it would use the fiber-optic company's products in a new undersea optical network.

U.S. cable company Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSK), down 71 cents to $44.79, posted improved first-quarter results Tuesday, boosted by a jump in subscribers for digital cable and high-speed Internet access. It also raised its expectations for its cable growth for the full year.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) was off 91 cents to $16.01, AOL Time Warner (NYSE: AOL) lost 33 cents to $51.77 and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) shed 44 cents to $19.54.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) gained 22 cents to $31.38, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 23 cents to $71.15 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) was up 4 cents to $16.91.

ZDII staff and Reuters contributed to this roundup.