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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs optimistic on Fed decision

Techs were building themselves up in expectation of good news from the Federal Reserve at midday Tuesday. The Nasdaq rose 34.28 to 3253.82, and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 87.78 to 10848.53.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index leapt 11 to 393.72.

Even if the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee's decision on interest rates is a disappointment for the optimistic markets, the reaction is likely to be more complex than a selling spree. Investors are looking beyond the Fed decision today at the policy statements that go with it. Even if rates do go up, the markets may be relieved by an assumption it will be the last hike for the year. The news should be released at 2:15 EST.

On the IPO front, Quintus (Nasdaq: QNTS), a maker of e-commerce customer relationship software, opened at 43 1/2 and rocketed to 49 1/16 in its market debut near midday Tuesday. Shares were up 31 1/16 from an offering price of $18.

Just four months after it went public at $34 a share, Juniper Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) is splitting its stock. The network-equipment maker said Tuesday that its board of directors has approved a 3-for-1 stock split. Juniper was up 26 13/16 to 310 5/16.

Things keep getting worse for network processor maker MMC Networks (Nasdaq: MMCN), down 4 1/8 to 17 7/8. The company's stock plunged 21 percent Tuesday after analysts downgraded it following a fourth quarter profit warning.

China's landmark trade pact with Washington was sending China.com shares (Nasdaq: CHINA) into orbit. The stock was up 26 13/16 to 128. The pact, which would allow U.S. firms to invest in Chinese Internet companies, reversing a ban imposed just two months ago may yet encounter problems.

Among the day's deals, Emusic.com Inc. (Nasdaq: EMUS)rose 3/4 to 12 1/4, after it said it will buy privately held Cductive.com in a stock-for-stock transaction worth about $38 million. E.piphany Inc. (Nasdaq: EPNY), a supplier of Internet customer management software, jumped 28 1/4 to 140 3/4 after it said it would buy RightPoint Corp., which helps coordinate customer communications, in a $393 million stock swap.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 4 15/16 to 78 7/16, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) jumped 2 3/4 to 207 3/4, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) grew 3/8 to 151 13/16.

Among other tech bellwethers, Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) lost 17/32 to 40 9/32, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) rose 1/8 to 21 11/16 and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) added 3/16 to 94 1/4.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) jumped 3/4 to 83 9/16 and Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) rose 2 3/8 to 76 1/2. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) added 1 13/16 to 75 7/8.