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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs fight off economic woes

Though the shadow of inflation crossed techs' path again Tuesday, shares trudged up at midday, while the broader market and bonds cowered. The Nasdaq rose 3.00 to 2,847.77, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 110.82 to 10,919.51.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index hovered at 304.

Retail sales jumped 1.2 percent in August, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday, more than the 0.8 rise economists had expected. The figure marked the fastest rate increase since a 1.7 percent climb last February and added to investors fear the Federal reserve will raise interest rates again. Surging demand for clothes and automobiles powered the gains, with new car sales up 19 percent from August a year ago.

The IPO season started with a ban, as shares of PurchasePro.com (Nasdaq: PPRO) poppedup 120 percent, or 14 3/8 to 26 3/8 in debut. PurchasePro.com had priced its 4 million shares at $12 each.

Among stocks in the news, Qualcomm assuaged investors' fears Tuesday with an announcement they will meet or exceed estimates for the fourth quarter. Shares of Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) recovered 9 5/8 to 163 after falling nearly 8 percent Monday when the company pulled out of an investor conference.

Smart Modular Technologies (SMOD) 10 13/16 to 35 1/8, or 45 percent on news that Solectron Corp. (NYSE: SLR) will buy it for $2 billion in stock. Solectron Corp., will benefit from expanding its reach into memory components and embedded computers, also rose 1/4 to 74, still cruising after better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.

Looking to jump-start it flagging share price, Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) jumped 1 to 56 5/8 after it trumpeted its sales growth.

Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) sank 3 5/16 to 57 3/16 though its earnings beat Wall Street's estimates by a penny at 28 cents a share.

Telecom plays Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) skipped 2 13/16 to 93 3/16, Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) lost 13/16 to 64 1/16 and AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) slipped 1/4 to 44 7/8.

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) jumped 5/16 to 132 11/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) lost 1 1/16 to 84 5/8. Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) lost 1/2 to 48 15/16 while Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) was steady at 47 7/8. Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) lost 7/16 to 24 3/8 and Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) added 13/16 to 75 13/16.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) added 9/16 to 71 1/4, Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) lost 9/16 to 66 3/16 and 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) shed 3/4 to 28 1/8.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) dropped 1 1/16 to 44 11/16 ahead of its earnings announcement. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) gained 1/2 to 94 3/8, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) hovered at 84 3/8, and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) lost 1/4 to 21.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) gained 2 to 162 3/4, America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 3/4 to 89 3/8 and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) was unchanged at 63 5/16. Other Net notables included: Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), up 1/16 to 44 1/8, Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), up 3/4 to 30 3/4, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), up 1 1/8 to 38 7/8, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG) down 1/8 to 26 1/2. eBay Inc.(Nasdaq: EBAY) put on 3 15/64 to 151 11/64 and CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) rose 2 5/16 to 86 9/16.