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Midday Markets: Techs founder

Techs limped along at midday on Thursday. The Nasdaq slid 17 to 2,414 and the @Net lost 1 to 281. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 55 to 10,633.

The broader market staged a mild recovery at noon after a string of positive sales reports pulled retailers higher. U.S. retail sales for May rose 6.8 percent, its eighth consecutive rise, according to the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. Expectations were for a rise of 5 percent for the month. Strong consumer sales bode well for both the economy and the stock market. The foundation of the bull economy has been consistent consumer confidence to spend, which has bolstered corporate top and bottom lines.

The steady strength of the American consumer isn't likely to trigger action from the Federal Reserve. The central bank has said in recent statements that a strong economy alone won't warrant a hike in interest rates. If costs continue to rise, evidenced by the Consumer Price Index, or if wages begin to rise as a result of the tight market, these events could bring a rate hike.

Ancor Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ANCR) gained 30 percent, up 3 1/8 to 13 3/8, after inking a deal to provide Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) with its switches.

Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY) climbed 4 7/8 to 52 3/4 after the retailer said it expects to beat Street expectations for its first quarter. Tandy Corp. (Nasdaq: TAN) gained 2 7/8 to 84 1/8 after its RadioShack unit reported a 17 percent rise in May sales in stores open longer than a year.

IXL Enterprises Inc. (Nasdaq: IIXL) rose 11 1/2 to 23 1/2 in its first day trading. Shares opened at 15 1/8 after pricing last night at $12 a share for its 6 million share initial issue.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) added 15/16 to 27 1/8 after the company said it expected to cut $1 billion in expenses annually. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) lost 1 1/4 to 77 3/16 and Computer Associates International Inc. (NYSE CA) dipped 11/16 to 48 5/16.

Proxim Inc. (Nasdaq: PROX) rose 2 9/16 to 44 1/16 after Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) invested $10 million in the home networking products maker.

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) advanced 5 1/8 to 104 after positive comments from a Lehman Brothers analyst.

Winstar Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WCII) gained 3 3/8 to 57 7/8 after the company converted $120 million worth of its convertible debt to common stock, thus ending payment of dividends on the debentures.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) gained 1 5/16 to 91 1/16 after the computer giant said it expects double-digit sale growth in the second half. Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) added 5/16 to 33 13/16. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) dropped 1/8 to 59 5/16 and Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) climbed 1/8 to 59 5/16.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) lost 7/8 to 51 1/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) fell 1/2 to 18.

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