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MIDDAY MARKETS: Earnings reports, CPI spur gains

Positive quarterly reports and a benign CPI number spurred tech gains at midday Wednesday. The Nasdaq rose 119.96 to 2,738.51 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 14.23 to 10,666.89.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 18 to 319.04.

An economic report indicated U.S. consumer prices were up modestly in December as higher prices for home fuel, utilities and food more than offset lower costs for gasoline and clothing.

And earnings helped push stocks along. Shares of Applied Micro Circuits (Nasdaq: AMCC) jumped 7.96 to 78.34 after the company hurdled third quarter expectations and boosted targets for the following quarter.

Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) surged 13.19 to 141.19 after the company reported strong fourth quarter results and upped its guidance for 2001.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was up 1.06 to 32.44 after it squeaked past lowered fourth-quarter earnings expectations Tuesday, posting net income of $2.6 billion, or 38 cents a share.

A volatile Nasdaq and bear market crimped earnings for Ameritrade's (Nasdaq: AMTD), up 0.56 to 10.37 and Knight (Nasdaq: NITE), up 1.06 to 20.68, Wednesday.

IBM (NYSE: IBM), which rose 4.25 to 97, reports after Wednesday's bell; analysts expect mixed results from the computing giant.

VA Linux Systems (Nasdaq: LNUX) fell 22 percent, or 2.06 to 7.06 after the company lowered estimates for its second quarter. Analysts said they saw few catalysts for the stock. Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) was up 0.22 to 9.

On the merger front, Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) slumped 32 percent, or 14.19 to 29.81 despite topping earnings for its third quarter, after analysts raised concerns over the company's near-term outlook and merger with Allaire.

Software maker NetIQ Corp. (Nasdaq: NTIQ), down 10.75 to 64.25, said on Wednesday it will buy WebTrends Corp. (Nasdaq: WEBT), down 2.63 to 30.25, a maker of software that tracks companies' Internet traffic, for about $1 billion in stock.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained 2.13 to 40.63, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) rose 1.69 to 33.5 and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was up 2.19 to 54.75.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 0.56 to 18.63, AOL (NYSE: AOL) gained 2.29 to 48.99 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 1.44 to 28.81.