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MIDDAY MARKETS: Earnings take Nasdaq to new high

The Nasdaq was just slipping from its new high at midday Thursday, as earnings euphoria sent techs flying. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 32.26 to 4,183.55, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 92.14 to 11,397.22.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 7 to 581.

The overflow from Wednesday's big earners sent the Nasdaq as high as 4,205.72 earlier Thursday morning. Data showing the American economy was still going full speed ahead did little to discourage buying. The trade deficit surged to a record $26.5 billion in November, as demand for imports outpaced exports. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits also dropped a dramatic 39,000 from the week before to 272,000 for the week ended Jan. 15.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) was leading the earnings winners, up 11 percent, or 11 3/4 to 118 5/16 after it beat estimates in its fiscal first quarter. Most companies that reported after Wednesday's bell were getting applause from investors: IBM (NYSE: IBM) rose 5 1/16 to 124 9/16, and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) rose 1 7/8 to 41 5/8, while America Online (NYSE: AOL) slipped 15/16 to 63 15/16.

Thursday's earners included Lattice Semiconductor (Nasdaq: LSCC), which rose 11 percent, or 6 1/4 to 59 11/16 after it reported third quarter operating earnings of $21.6 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $115 million. First Call consensus called for a loss of 37 cents a share.

Andrew Corp. (Nasdaq: ANDW), which makes wireless communications equipment, rose 1 1/4 to 24 3/4 after it topped Wall Street estimates with first quarter earnings of $16.8 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $233.6 million. First Call consensus was 17 cents a share.

Wit Capital (Nasdaq: WITC) lost 3/4 to 15 after it reported a fourth quarter loss of 10 cents a share, excluding one-time items. First Call called for a loss of 14 cents a share.

Adaptec (Nasdaq: ADPT) rose 1/4 to 59 1/2 after it said net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2000 was 52 cents a share, beating First Call's estimate of 48 cents a share.

Techs slated to report quarterly results after Thursday's bell were all on the rise. Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT) rose 1 13/16 to 100 1/8, Lucent (NYSE: LU) rose 2 11/16 to 54 1/8 and Gateway (NYSE: GTW) was up 3 5/8 to 60 1/2.

Legato Systems (Nasdaq: LGTO) wasn't so lucky. The stock plunged 42 percent, or 22 3/4 to 30 7/8 after the company missed estimates because it changed its revenue recognition policy. Analysts panned the stock.

A slew of deals added to earnings euphoria. Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) jumped 6 3/4 to 75 after it announced a deal with Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GBLX) , up 5/8 to 52 7/8 to supply intelligent optical transport products for its network.

Engage (Nasdaq: ENGA) rocketed ahead 18 to 95, or 23 percent, after it said it would acquire Adsmart and Flycast from its majority owner, venture capital company CMGI Inc (Nasdaq: CMGI), in an all-stock deal. CMGI rose 1 3/8 to 123 3/4.

CNet Inc. (Nasdaq:CNET) rose 1 5/16 to 64 after it said it is buying comparison shopping site MySimon in a stock swap worth $700 million.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) slipped 1 1/2 to 65 5/16 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost 6 7/8 to 357 1/8.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) rose 11/16 to 43 3/16 and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) rose 3/16 to 29 13/16.