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MIDDAY MARKETS: CPI report spooks techs

The CPI report spooked investors at midday Tuesday, and earnings reports weren't doing much to reassure them. The Nasdaq shed 91.62 to 4,183.05 and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 75.66 to 10,728.61.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 16 to 532.16.

The U.S. Labor Department said its June Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped 0.6 percent, making skittish Fed watchers nervous about more interest rate hikes ahead. Economists polled by Reuters predicted that the CPI would increase 0.4 percent overall.

Several companies were sliding despite better-than-expected results; IONA Technologies (Nasdaq: IONA), down 3 15/16 to 75, said second quarter earnings were 20 cents a share, a nickel above First Call's expectation. Parametric (Nasdaq: PMTC), down 1 11/16 to 11 3/16, and ISSX (Nasdaq: ISSX), down 16 3/4 to 90 1/4, also topped estimates

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:CY), down 3 7/8 to 51 5/8 reported that earnings for its second quarter were 54 cents a share, above First Call Corp.'s consensus estimate of 47 cents a share.

Efficient Networks (Nasdaq: EFNT), down 6 1/2 to 95 1/2, crushed estimates, as a big order from SBC and growing DSL installations enabled it to deliver strong earnings. The company also upped its profit target.

Unisys (NYSE: UIS), down 2 5/8 to 11 1/2, said second quarter net income was less than half what it was the year ago, but roughly in line recently lowered expectations.

Market volatility dinged DLJdirect (NYSE: DIR), down 5/8 to 7 13/16, as the company missed Wall Street estimates and reported sales fell sequentially in its second quarter.

Techs slated to report after Tuesday's closing bell were mostly in negative territory; Apple (Nasdaq: APPL) was down 1 5/16 to 57, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) fell 4 3/8 to 141 15/16, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was down 3/8 to 77 13/16, RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) was up 1 11/16 to 57 11/16 and DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK) fell 1 1/4 to 36 1/4.

Handspring (Nasdaq: HAND), up 5 3/8 to 44 11/16, continued to gain Tuesday as its IPO underwriters applauded the stock's prospects. The company's quiet period ended Monday.

Among other leading tech issues: Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) dropped 2 to 67 5/8, Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) fell 1/8 to 96 1/4 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) fell 3/4 to 75 3/8. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost 3 3/16 to 128 7/16, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 1 to 42 1/8 and AOL (NYSE: AOL) shed 2 1/4 to 60 3/4.