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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs panic as PPI siren adds to inflation alert

Techs took a beating at midday Friday as a stronger-than-expected PPI index added to the panic incited by Greenspan's warning that sudden losses in investor confidence "inevitably" occur. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 56.68 to 2,750.16, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 164.95 to 10,121.66.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index sank 2 to 309.63.

Fears of inflation were ignitedagain after an economic report from the Commerce Department showed a much stronger-than-expected rise in wholesale prices. The Producer Price Index jumped 1.1 percent in September, its biggest rise since a jump in September 1990. The "core" PPI, which excludes the volatile prices of food and energy, rose 0.8 percent.

Bubble-talk from Greenspan already had already gotten stocks pessimistic before Friday's opening. The Federal Reserve Chairman told banks Thursday to stash reserves in case they have to face a big market downturn. As banking related stocks and techs took a beating across the board, Investors also took their fears out on companies just reporting earnings.

Among those punished, Internet advertiser DoubleClick (DCLK) tumbled 9 percent, or 11 to 116 ? even though it reported a third-quarter loss that was slightly smaller than expected. was whacked out of orbit 26 percent Friday. Internet investors got some bad news late Thursday when Inc. (Nasdaq: TGLO), down 2 3/8 to 11 ?, warned that its third-quarter sales will fall short of analysts' estimates. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) sank 2 27/32 to 76 3/4. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 3 1/8 to 170 1/4, America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 3 7/8 to 111 1/8.

Internet consulting firm Proxicom Inc. (Nasdaq: PXCM), up 3 5/16 to 69 15/16, said Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), down 25/32 to 72 9/16, bought an equity stake in the company.

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) resisted the day's downward pull and added 4 ? to 93 29/32 on the strength of Thursday's earnings; Sun beat Street estimates by 2 cents a share. Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) fell 31/32 to 43 3/8 and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) lost 7/16 to 21 13/16. IBM Corp (NYSE: IBM) was up 1 to 108.

MMC Networks (Nasdaq: MMCN) fell 18 percent Friday after its chief financial officer, Uday Bellary, resigned amid news the company would see significant sales declines in its fourth quarter.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) dropped 1 to 68 3/8, Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) fell 1 9/16 to 60 5/16.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 2 5/16 to 88 3/8.

While the turbulent markets scared off several IPOs to next week, (Nasdaq: WOMN), an online community tailored for women, priced its shares at $10 each, the top of its lowered $8 to $10 range, for trading Friday. Semiconductor firm Quicklogic (Nasdaq: QUIK) and Cysive (Nasdaq: CYSV) also priced, but had yet to debut.