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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs sluggish on profit warnings

Techs were slipping at midday Wednesday as investors held out for a big earnings report from Yahoo! and punished companies with profit warnings. The Nasdaq edged back 3.35 to 2,733.43, and the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 26.27 to 11,108.85.

Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index dropped 3.82 to 319.37

Earnings expectations take center stage as there is little economic news to sway stocks. Investors held back on Yahoo!, slated to report after the bell. The slight slip in most stocks may indicate expectations of profits may have already been built in during last week's gains.

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) dipped 5 5/16 to 169 13/16 while investors awaited its earnings report. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell 2 1/16 to 124 13/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) added 1 3/4 to 122 11/16. Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), lost 11/16 to 51 1/8, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), fell 1 15/16 to 55, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG), dropped 1 11/16 to 46 1/2.

CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) gained 2 7/16 to 120. (Nasdaq: BNBN) rose 3/4 to 18 as it joined the parade of commerce sites selling music over the Internet. (Nasdaq: HITS) had yet to cash in on the Internet music hype.

Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), up 3 3/4 to 107 9/16 said today it has struck a deal to distribute its content on high-speed networks offered by Internet access provider RCN Corp. (Nasdaq:RCNC), up 1 5/8 to 45 5/8.

On the e-commerce consolidation front, big bank and brokerage names American Express Co., Bank of America, Charles Schwab & Co., and Citigroup Inc., agreed to team up with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), up 1 5/8 to 91 3/16 to provide content and information for its MSN MoneyCentral site.

The telecom saga continued to drag on as Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST), up 15/16 to 34 1/2, continues its fight with Global Crossing Ltd. (Nasdaq: GBLX), up 1/8 to 42 1/4, for US West Inc. (NYSE: USW), down 3/16 to 58 3/4, which now wants to be treated as an equal.

Metricom, Inc. (Nasdaq: MCOM) was up 6 1/2 to 41 5/8 after Ameri-First Securities initiated coverage with a "buy" rating, noting Metricom's strategic agreement with MCI WorldCom (Nasdaq: WCOM), also up 5/16 to 86 11/16.

ValueVision Inc. (Nasdaq: VVTV) rose 15/16 to 24 9/16 after announcing that it and NBC plan an agreement for DIRECTV to begin carriage of ValueVision's home shopping network.

Several software makers issued profit warnings; New Era of Networks (Nasdaq: NEON) fell 57 percent, down 25 1/16 to 19 after the company said it would report a second quarter loss. Sterling Commerce also plummeted after it warned it expects third quarter earnings below expectations. Vantive Corp. (Nasdaq: VNTV) sunk 3 3/16 to 9 5/8 following its warning that it would post a loss of between 12 cents to 14 cents a share in its second quarter.

And Engineering Animation Inc. (Nasdaq: EAII) fell 1 3/8 to 21 3/4 after announcing it will slash 130 jobs as it shuts down its interactive division.

Among PC-related issues: Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) added 1 1/4 to 63 1/2, Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) grew 1/4 to 37 1/4 and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) gained 13/16 to 24 3/16. Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) moved up 1 11/16 to 49 1/16 and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) jumped 2 to 133.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) tacked on 1/4 to 64 1/8, while Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) lost 1/16 to 17 1/16.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) jumped 1/8 to 66 13/16. 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) lost 5/16 to 26 3/16 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) picked up 7/16 to 70 1/2 .