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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs stage cautious rally on PPI news

Techs plugged along at midday Friday, leading a mild rally on weaker-than-expected results from August's producer price index. The Nasdaq rose 27.56 to 2,879.58, and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 41.16 to 11,120.56.

Treasury markets took the PPI results as good news, and buzzed ahead, supporting moderate rises in stocks across the broader markets.

The core PPI rate, which excludes food and energy prices, declined 0.1 percent in August after being unchanged in July. Estimates had called for an increase. The jump in wholesale prices and muted gains elsewhere left the Federal Reserve, and all investors trying to scrutinizing what's on its interest rate agenda, on guard for more economic data.

Another slow Friday after two weeks without any IPOs is the last of its kind for a while, with at least 5 new tech issues slated to debut next week.

But with bounds like those made by tiny Amplidyne Inc. (Nasdaq: AMPD), who needs an IPO? Shares were rocketing 117 percent up 18 3/16 to 33 11/16, just more padding after a 220 percent run-up Thursday.

Shares of AppNet Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: APNT) and Viant Corp. (Nasdaq: VIAN) soared Friday after CS First Boston upgraded both e-commerce consultants to "strong buy" from "buy." AppNet was up 18 3/16 to 33 11/16 and Viant gained 12 1/2 to 52.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 6 5/16 to 169, America Online Inc. (NYSE:AOL) was up 3/4 to 97 and Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) added 2 5/16 to 65 15/16. Other Net notables included: Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), up 11/16 to 44 13/16, Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), up 5/16 to 31 1/16, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), up 7/16 to 40 7/16, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG) down 1 to 28. eBay Inc.(Nasdaq:EBAY), leapt 8 15/16 to 153 3/8, CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) added 1 to 88 3/8.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) grew 1 3/16 to 71 1/8, Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), climbed 1 5/8 to 66 1/16, and 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) lost 3/16 to 27 3/4.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) gained 11/16 to 94 3/4, while Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) sank 11/16 to 87 1/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) tumbled 5/16 to 21 15/16.

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) added 1 to 135 3/4 and Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) rose 1 1/2 to 50, while Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) gained 3/8 to 49 1/4, and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) tacked 3/4 to 23 11/16. Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) shed 3/8 to 75 3/16.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) gained 11/16 to 44 3/4, AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) lost 3/8 to 46 1/8, and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) grew 1 to 85 3/16.