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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: EBay dings techs

Strong telecom results and a positive inflation outlook from Wednesday's durable goods report couldn't snap the Nasdaq out of its eBay-induced funk at midday. The Nasdaq sank 14.73 to 2,796.74 and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 19.94 to 10,322.07.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index sank 4 to 330.86.

Orders for costly durable goods fell for the first time in five months in September, dragged lower by weak demand for new cars and aircraft, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The steeper-than-expected drop eased investors' inflation fears, though Thursday's third-quarter employment cost index and gross domestic product reports could change all that. The bond market rose sharply in celebration of the durable goods release. The benchmark 30-year Treasury bond rose 20/32 of a point.

Despite positive news, the Nasdaq was hampered by eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), which took a tumble down 14 5/16 to 137 1/16, or 9 percent, despite posting a modest third quarter profit. The company had a sharp increase in sales and several other measures of traffic to its site on Tuesday. But analysts were mixed on eBay because of rising expenses.

It was a big day for telecoms - SBC Communications (NYSE: SBC), one of the recent additions to the Dow Jones industrial average, gained 1 13/16 to 47 3/8 after it reported earnings of 57 cents a share.

After a third quarter of rapid acquisitions, Global Crossing Ltd. (Nasdaq: GBLX) jumped 13/16 to 34 15/16, after it said loss for the third quarter was $34.1 million, or 4 cents a share, beating First Call's expected loss of 10 cents a share.

Qwest Communications (Nasdaq: QWST) rose 3/16 to 34 5/8 after it met Wall Street projections Wednesday with third quarter operating earnings of 3 cents a share as revenue jumped to $1.02 billion, up 26 percent from a year ago.

Sprint (NYSWE: FON) rose 1 13/16 to 67 11/16, Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) gained 7/16 to 62 1/2, and AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) gained 3/16 to 44 3/16.

CheckFree Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: CKFR) down 1/8 to 38 1/8, Juno Online Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: JWEB), down 1/8 to 15 3/8, and (Nasdaq: FLWS), down 3/4 to 12 3/16, all topped First Call consensus in their latest quarters. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell 4 7/16 to 76 13/16 ahead of its earnings report after Wednesday's bell. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 5 3/16 to 174 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 3/16 to 116 15/16.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) was down 1 15/16 and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) fell 1 7/16 to 94 1/16. Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) slipped 1 3/16 to 38 7/16, and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) jumped 1/2 to 20.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) jumped 3/4 to 68 and Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) fell 1 1/8 to 61 3/4.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) was leading the Nasdaq in volume, down 1 11/16 to 69 3/4 as Salomon Smith Barney has cut its earnings forecasts for the company. Salomon cited multiple reports that Intel is still having some manufacturing issues this quarter and demand cloudy due to reports of cancellations from Taiwanese motherboard makers.

JNI Corp. (Nasdaq: JNIC), blasted up 121 percent in its IPO - shares in the communications equipment maker were up 23 to 42. The day's other tech IPO, Software maker InterTrust Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ITRU), was also up 23, putting it at 41 - a 128 percent gain.