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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs bogged down by economic news

News that the U.S. trade deficit rose to a record high, and reports of higher job claims added to tech's interest rate paranoia at midday Thursday. The Nasdaq sunk 35.70 to 2,622.03 and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 78.52 to 10,912.86.

Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index sunk 6.55 to 283.36.

The government reported that the U.S. trade deficit rose to $24.6 billion from $21.2 billion in May, which was revised downward from the $21.3 billion first reported. The June trade gap was about 20 percent above the $20.5 billion expected by economists polled by Reuters. The bond market dropped after the Commerce Department's report, and the news that initial jobless claims also rose. Jobless claims were 287,000 for the week ended Aug. 14, compared with a revised 283,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.

The news compounded fears of the dollar's decline against the yen. The dollar traded at a seven-month low against the strengthening yen, and the euro got a boost from a new survey showing higher confidence in Germany.

IPOs were among the few shares fighting the economic downdraft. Wink Communications (Nasdaq: WINK) batted its way up 104 percent, gaining 16 5/8 to 32 5/8 after it announced its debut Thursday with 4.75 million shares priced at $16.

HeadHunter.Net Inc. (Nasdaq: HHNT) also debuted, rising just 5/8 to 10 5/8, or 6 percent on the troubled markets.

LookSmart Inc. (Proposed ticker: LOOK) avoided the rocky markets again and dropped the number of shares it planned to sell in an initial public offering to 9 million common shares from 12 million, the Internet directory company said on Thursday.

ADC Telecommunications sunk 8 percent Thursday, down 2 15/16 to 40 15/16 at midday after it topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter Wednesday, earning $52 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $444 million. Analysts attributed the fall to missed revenue estimates, and lower R&D expenses, as well as a delayed AT&T contract.

Convergent Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CONV), a recently public data and voice communications services provider, fell 14 percent, down 1 13/16 to 10 7/8 at midday on news that chief financial officer John J. Phibbs resigned.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) fell 11/16 to 36 1/8, AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) dropped 5/8 to 48 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) inched up 5/16 to 73 5/8.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) sunk 1 11/64 to 83 53/64, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) dropped 1 5/16 to 77 3/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) sunk 3/8 to 18 3/16

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) dropped 1/16 to 123 13/16, Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) fell 2 15/16 to 88 1/16, Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) dipped 11/16 to 43 7/8 and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) was even at 23 1/2. Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) also moved down, 3/8 to 59 3/4.

Shares of online computer software retailer Onsale Inc. (Nasdaq: ONSL) was one of the day's few gainers, up 1 3/4 to 18, or 11 percent after the company gave a bullish forecast for revenue growth.

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) dropped 5 to 140 1/16, and Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) plunked 5 3/16 to 107 15/16. America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) shed 2 1/8 to 97 1/16. Other Net notables included: Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), down 1 5/8 to 43 1/8, Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), down 11/16 to 32 9/16, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), down 1 11/16 to 38 3/8 and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG) in the red 1 3/4 to 30 13/16. CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) also shed 3 1/8 to 82 3/16.

Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) fell 1 1/16 to 63 1/8, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) shed 1 3/32 to 62 7/32 and 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) lost 11/16 to 23 7/16.