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MIDDAY MARKETS: Rally peters out

Techs were losing steam at midday Thursday, as volume dropped due to the holidays, and even better-than-expected earnings proved bad news for some stocks. The Nasdaq shed 38.63 to 3,667.78, and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 116.35 to 10,791.31.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index shed 8 to 488.62.

Trading was light due to Wednesday night's start of Passover, and the Good Friday market closing; options expiration was also resulting in lighter volume.

The bad news first; despite better than-expected earnings news after Wednesday's bell, many techs continued to crubmle. Informix (Nasdaq: IFMX) bombed 28 percent, or 3 7/8 to 13 1/16 after topping estimates for its first quarter. Citrix (Nasdaq: CTXS) tumbled 8 7/16 to 56 13/16, Veritas Software (Nasdaq: VRTS) fell 3 3/16 to 102 and Apple (Nasdaq: APPL) dropped 1 1/4 to 119 7/8 after both announced better-than-expected results. Excite@Home(Nasdaq: ATHM), down 1 13/16, fell after it missed estimates and predicted steep losses ahead.

Earnings brought good news for EarthLink Network (Nasdaq: ELNK), which rose 1/4 to 15 3/4 and Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC), which jumped 8 5/8 to 56 5/16 after hurdling estimates. Other B2B shares were also going strong; Vertical Net (Nasdaq: VERT)rose 2 5/8 to 43 1/2, and PurchasePro (Nasdaq: PPRO) was up 1/2 to 31 13/16.

CNET (Nasdaq: CNET) also bounded ahead, up 6 3/4 to 38 1/4, or 21 percent after the company posted a profit for its first quarter and got some upgrades.

Metricom (Nasdaq: MCOM), down 2 3/16 to 31 7/8, said its first-quarter loss widened, and it may face rollout delays in New York.

Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN), up 3 3/16 to 146 3/16, said its board of directors approved a 2-for-1 stock split, payable on May 22 to stockholders of record on May 1.

It just keeps getting worse for Legato Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LGTOE), which was down 4 11/16 to 11 5/16, The company announced Thursday it may be delisted from the Nasdaq because it still hasn't filed its annual report. As a result, Legato's ticker, LGTO, has become "LGTOE."

Tech earnings continued to impress as a host of companies topped expectations Thursday morning. Andrew Corp.(Nasdaq: ANDW), up 1/16 to 23 3/16; Micrel (Nasdaq: MCRL), down 2 15/16 to 77 1/4; Made2Manage (Nasdaq: MTMS), down 1/2 to 7 3/4; New Era of Networks (Nasdaq: NEON), up 19/64 to 27 7/8; Neoforma.com (Nasdaq: NEOF), down 13/16 to 8 13/16 and ValueClick (Nasdaq: VCLK), up 1 5/8 to 12 1/8 reported results.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), which reports after market close, rose 1/2 to 79 3/16. Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) rose 9/16 to 50 1/8. IBM (NYSE: IBM) lost 1 11/16 to 103 5/16. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) lost 1 1/8 to 117 15/16.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 2 3/16 to 51 1/4, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 1 1/2 to 124 3/8 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) fell 7/16 to 61 5/16.


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