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MARKET MIDDAY: Techs rise, broader market falls

Technology stocks moved up slightly Friday morning despite some reluctance in the overall market.

Broad indices were mixed after the U.S. Labor Department's latest statistics showed a stronger-than-expected job market. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.15 to 2,575.98 near midday, the S&P 500 down 5.54 to 1,308.17, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower by 40.84 to 10,752.98. Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index was up 13.47 to 4,858.42.

"The mood changes in milliseconds," said Alan Ackerman, a senior vice president and market strategist at Fahnestock & Co. "We're in a vulnerable and volatile market."

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls increased 310,000 in July, soundly topping expectations of a 199,400 gain, according to a Reuters' poll of economists. Average hourly wages climbed 0.45 percent, compared with forecasts of a 0.3 percent rise. The unemployment rate matched expectations, holding steady at 4.3 percent.

Given the heavier trading volumes Thursday that likely flushed out a lot of the margin players, the worst may be over, said Richard Driehaus, president and chief executive officer of Driehaus Capital Management, which manages $2 billion in small and middle cap companies.

"I think the market may have hit bottom yesterday," Driehaus said. "If we're not at the bottom, we're approaching the bottom."

America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) gained 2 7/8 to 86 13/16 as the most active issue on U.S. markets. AOL, currently locked in a battle with Microsoft and others over Internet messaging, signed deals to provide co-branded versions of its Instant Messenger for nationwide ISPs Earthlink Network Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK) and Mindspring Enterprises Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPG). Earthlink was up 4 to 41 1/16 and Mindspring was up 3 to 29.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 1/4 to 85 1/2.

Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 5 5/8 to 134. Goldman Sachs updated its "recommend list" to include the Web portal operator, which previously was rated "market outperform".

NextCard Inc. (Nasdaq: NXCD), which offers credit cards online, picked up 3 1/16 to 25 9/16 following its announcement of second quarter results that included year-over-year revenue growth of 263 percent.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) initially fell after British regulators are investigating Big Blue to see if the computer giant paid artificially high royalties to avoid taxes, the Wall Street Journal said. But IBM rallied to be up 1 3/4 to 124 13/16 after the company announced its researchers have discovered a way to speed up disk drive storage.

Contract electronics manufacturing giant SCI Systems Inc. (NYSE: SCI) fell 3 7/16 to 50 despite reporting better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings. SG Cowen upgraded SCI to "buy" from "neutral".

Descartes Systems Group Inc. (Nasdaq: DSGX) tumbled 1 5/6 to 2 5/8 on volume exceeding 2 million shares. The software company warned of lower-than-expected results because of a slowdown in the enterprise applications market.

Globalstar Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: GSTRF) gained 3 1/4 to 27 13/16. The company, which got a positive boost Thursday from well-known commentator George Gilder, is perceived as having a dominant position in the satellite-based wireless communications market, especially as Iridium continues to struggle.

Wireless communications provider Omnipoint Inc. (Nasdaq: OMPT) retreated 1 to 42 3/8 after reporting a second quarter net loss of $178 million, or $3.36 a share.

Other active stocks Friday included eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), up 13/16 to 93 11/16; Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), up 1 1/16 to 39 13/16; ; Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), up 1 1/4 to 72 11/16; and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), up 1 3/8 to 62 7/8.>