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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs tank ... again

The Nasdaq continued its journey south at midday Friday, discarding IPOs and disregarding positive earnings results. The Nasdaq sank 251.31 to 3,425.47, or almost 7 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average shed 299.47 to 10,624.08.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index dropped 27 to 451.84.

All was quiet on the IPO front Friday, after most of this week's offerings were put off by the bear market.

Friday's economic news helped kindle inflation fears again, sharpening the downturn. The Consumer Price Index, the government's main inflation yardstick, rose 0.7 percent last month, stronger than its 0.5 percent increase in February and above the 0.4 percent gain predicted by analysts.

Investors continue to punish techs regardless of how they fared in quarterly reports. Emulex (Nasdaq: EMLX) plunged 40 15/16 to 42 despite topping estimates in its third quarter. Analysts blamed the dip on the markets, and slowing growth in the company's fibre channel business.

Even Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) fell 6 1/2 to 168 1/2, after it announced a stock-split along with its results that beat the Street's forecasts.

PMC-Sierra (Nasdaq: PMCS) which also reported better-than-expected results after Thursday's bell, was down 5 3/16 to 120 3/8, or 5 percent. Other communications chip makers Applied Micro Circuits (Nasdaq: AMCC) was down 15 3/16 to 76 3/4, or 17 percent, and Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) tumbled 24 15/16 to 119 1/8, or 17 percent.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was down 5 5/6 to 115 13/16. One of two stocks not in the red on the Nasdaq's most active 20 stocks at midday was chip maker Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR), up 1/8 to 79 3/16 on its strong earnings reported earlier this week.

The other tech stock showing gains was Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW), which gained 11/16 to 78 7/16 on its strong third quarter results Thursday night.

Gateway (NYSE: GTW) rose 1/2 to 52 1/2 after it posted first-quarter earnings in line with First Call's estimate. Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) was down 1 15/16 to 49 3/4.

Electronics manufacturer Solectron Corp. (NYSE: SLR), down 1 3/4 to 39 1/4, said Friday it may eliminate 850 jobs, or more than 10 percent of its total work force.

MicroStrategy Inc. (Nasdaq: MSTR) fell 3 1/8 to 35 15/16 after the software company disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission has begun a formal investigation into the restatement of its financial results.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), dropped 2 13/16 to 76 7/16. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 4 to 44, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) shed 8 1/8 to 128 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 4 to 55 1/4.