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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs celebrate economic news

Techs rallied in relief at midday Friday over job data that suggested the economy may not be strong enough to invoke another interest-rate hike. The Nasdaq roared up 88.53 to 2,822.77, and the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 219.73 to 11,062.94.

Stocks and bonds cheered after job creation in the robust U.S. economy came in below expectations, relieving fears of an imminent rate hike. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that nonfarm payrolls grew by 124,000 in August, below the 220,000 number most economists were expecting. The unemployment rate came in on target at 4.2 percent, and wages rose a mere 2 cents an hour to $13.30, well below the 5 cents predicted.

The rate-speculation roller-coaster is up, but it may not have seen its last dip. Until the Fed meets again on Oct. 5, every mite of economic data is likely to trigger a reaction from the especially sensitive techs and treasury market.

Sterling Software, Inc. (NYSE: SSW), even at 20 1/8 said that its fourth quarter earnings will be lower than expected. To cushion the blow, the company said it would buy back 5 million shares.

Network services provider Digital Link Corp. (Nasdaq: DLNK) rose 21 percent, up 1 3/4 to 9 15/16 after it said it had agreed to merge with closely held DLZ Corp.

The world's top maker of computer disk-drives, Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: SEG), up 1 3/16 to 35 3/16 said it would revamp its software unit and acquire all shares in the subsidiary that it does not already own.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose 3 1/8 to 94 15/16, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) gained 3 1/4 to 88 9/16, and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) added 1 3/16 to 21.

Log On America Inc. (Nasdaq: LOAX), rose 10 percent, up 2 1/16 to 22 15/16 after reports a U.S. telecom company is likely to invest into Internet service provider a company whose stock price has been hit recently along with other tech-sector firms.

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) jumped 8 1/8 to 149 11/16, while Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) added 1 7/8 to 61 15/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) skipped up4 1/8 to 95 3/8. Other Net notables included: Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), up 2 5/8 to 43 3/4, Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), up 1 1/8 to 30, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), up 2 1/8 to 39 3/16, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG) up 15/16 to 28 5/16. CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) leapt 3 5/8 to 83 3/4.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) grew 2 7/16 to 70 11/16. Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) grew 1 11/16 to 65 11/16, and 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) lost 5/32 to 26 29/32.

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) added 2 7/8 to 128 3/4 and Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) rose 1 1/4 to 98 while Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) dropped 1 1/4 to 48 15/16, and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) rose 3/8 to 23 7/16. Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) gained 4 1/4 to 75 1/16.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) added 1 1/8 to 39 9/16, AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) grew 15/16 to 47 15/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) grew 3 1/16 to 82 5/8.

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