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MIDDAY MARKETS: Snow puts off Greenspan speech, earnings keep coming

Another round of solid quarterly reports was boosting techs at midday Tuesday, despite the volume slump as unexpected snow slowed New York's traffic. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 5.68 to 4,101.76, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 13.58 to 10,994.59.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was even at 557.89.

A speech from Fed Chair Alan Greenspan on "Evolving Fiscal Challenges" slated for this morning was canceled due to the snowstorm in Washington D.C. Greenspan will now testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday at his confirmation hearing.

On the economic front, the release of December existing home sales was also postponed until Wednesday. January consumer confidence came in at a record 144.7 compared to December's 141.7. See full story.

Earnings were still in full force Tuesday, with telecommunications bigwig AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) losing 7/8 to 49 5/8 after it surpassed the consensus estimate in the fourth quarter and told analysts to expect slightly lower earnings in the first.

SBC Communications (NYSE: SBC) lost 1 3/16 to 40 3/16 after it hit Wall Street estimates Tuesday with operating earnings of $1.9 billion, or 54 cents a share, on sales of $12.9 billion. SBC, one of the recent tech additions to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, also has big expansion plans. Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) was up 5 5/16 to 145 3/8 ahead of its report slated for after the bell.

USA Networks Inc (Nasdaq: USAI) rose 3 1/16 to 53 9/16 after it said it will acquire, an online fashion site, and combine the site with its existing e-commerce divisions.

Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) rose 3/8 to 22 1/8 fourth-quarter earnings fell 52 percent from a year earlier, roughly in line with reduced expectations, and the company said improvement may not come until the second half of 2000.

Cypress Semi (NYSE: CY) fell 3/8 to 36 3/16 after it said earnings were 32 cents a share, beating First Call's upwardly revised consensus of 30 cents a share. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) rose 1 to 99 13/16.

Tellabs (Nasdaq: TLAB) earnings for the fourth quarter were 41 cents share, beating First Call's estimate of 40 cents a share on demand for its Titan line of products. Shares were down 9 7/16 to 59 5/8.

Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) fell 2 5/16 to 97 1/16 ahead of its earnings to be announced later today. Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) fell 1/2 to 108 9/16 and Lucent (NYSE: LU) grew 1 7/8 to 55 7/16.

In non-earnings news, search company Ask Jeeves Inc (Nasdaq: ASKJ)rose 5 1/2 to 104 1/2 will acquire Direct Hit Technologies Inc. in a deal worth around $507 million. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell 1/8 to 70, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 5 13/16 to 330 1/8 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 1/4 to 62 1/4.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) rose 7/16 to 42, while Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) shed 11/16 to 32 5/16 ahead of its earnings report scheduled for after Tuesday's bell.