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MIDDAY MARKETS: Nets and PCs lead rally

Internet stocks gained and Apple and Dell led hardware stocks up at midday Thursday. The Nasdaq gained 26.69 to 2,769.73, while the Dow Jones industrial average added 14.57 to 11201.93.

Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index rose 18 to 380.

On the broader markets, the Dow wasn't quite as bullish as the Nasdaq today, recovering slightly in the after noon from a morning weighed down by a slow bond market. Tobacco firms tumbled in the wake of the landmark lawsuit finding them liable for lung cancer.

A lower than expected weekly jobless claims report didn't help matters either. The Department of Labor release indicated that fewer Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week than the week before.

Among stocks in the news today, In Focus Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: INFS), up 9/16 to 15 1/4, had second quarter profits that beat expectations.

Web hosting service Interliant (Nasdaq: INIT) was up 56 percent, gaining 5 1/2 to 15 1/2 on its IPO launch.

Shares of Computer Horizons Corp. (Nasdaq: CHRZ) fell 1 11/16, or 13 percent, to 11 5/16 after warning it would miss analysts' estimates in its second quarter and in the fiscal year.

Following its upgrade from BancBoston Robertson Stephens, Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) moved up 7 percent, rising 3 1/2 to 53 3/8. Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) added 1 5/16 to 40 1/4 after announcing it would be giving away Internet access in France, as well as Britain and Germany.

Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) added 7/8 to 64 1/2, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) rose 1 1/4 to 26 3/16 and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) jumped 2 1/4 to 135 1/16.

Shares of Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) gained 3 3/4 to 170 13/16, not much considering its strong earnings.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) grew 4 1/8 to 126 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) added 2 5/8 to 127 5/8 a share. Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), rose 1 11/16 to 108 15/16, and Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK) gained 2 3/16 to 52 7/16. Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) rose 1 1/4 to 56 3/16, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG), tacked on 2 1/16 to 47 5/16 CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) gained 5 7/16 to 123 7/16.

MCI WorldCom bolted 3 1/2 to 88 11/16 after Salomon Smith Barney released its "10+ Exceptional Names" list. AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) jumped 1/2 to 58 3/4

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) jumped 1/2 to 66 3/4. 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) inched up 1/16 to 26 3/4 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) picked up 1 3/16 to 73.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) added 11/32 to 39 1/32, and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) was up 1 3/16 to 71 1/16. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) added 7/16 to 92 3/4 and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) tacked on 1 1/8 to 65 1/2, while Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) gained 3/16 to 17 1/16.