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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Jobs data ignites rally

Employment data sent the market into rally mode at midday Friday, as a report on February's labor market suggested the economy may be cooling off. The Nasdaq rose 121.05 to 4875.56, and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 238.89 to 10403.81.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 22 to 650.72.

Techs went on a tear after the U.S. February jobs report detailed a weakening labor market, with below-expectation job creation and a rise in the unemployment rate giving investors a reason to buy stocks.

Several strong IPOs were still waiting to trade; e-business software maker Versata (Nasdaq: VATA) was up 39 7/8 to 63 7/8 after it priced shares at $24 a each. Prime Response (Nasdaq: PRME) priced at $18, but had yet to trade.

UTStarcom (Nasdaq: UTSI) was up 36 5/8 to 54 3/8, or 200 percent, while AsiaInfo (Nasdaq: ASIA),another Internet infrastructure company focused on China, had yet to trade. (Nasdaq: RCOM), which competes with Network Solutions to register domain names, was up 37 3/4 to 61 3/4 after it priced its shares at $24 each.

Lehman Bros. said in a research report that shares of 3Com Corp (Nasdaq: COMS), up 4 57/64 to 86 45/64, should trade at about $170 if the share price of Palm Inc.(Nasdaq: PALM), down 13 1/16 to 82, in stays at its current level.

Healtheon/WebMD (Nasdaq: HLTH), down 3 3/16 to 55 5/16, posted a large fourth quarter loss, but revenue surged as the company continued to integrate its acquisitions. (Nasdaq: INSP), down 1 to 260 1/16, recently said it plans to drop its "dot-com," and has set March 24 as the record date for the 2-for-1 stock split that was announced on January 31.

Shares of publishing software vendor ESPS (Nasdaq: ESPS) rose by 4 3/16 to 11 1/8 on news of a technology development and distribution pact with Xerox (NYSE: XRX), up 1/2 to 21 11/16.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) gained 5 1/4 to 98 5/8. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) rose 11/16 to 116 7/16. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 15/16 to 63 1/2, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 1 7/16 to 153 1/2, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 11/16 to 57 3/16.