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MIDDAY MARKETS: Bears are back, techs suffer

Techs were mauled at midday Monday, after a bear attack brought the tech-heavy Nasdaq down more than 6 percent at one point. The Nasdaq shed 161.18 to 3,229.22 and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 192.59 to 10,434.26.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 20 to 413.83.

The Nasdaq was just teetering on its low of 3,227 for the year, reached on April 17, after plunging to 3,172 earlier in the day.

Leading tech and Internet stocks were all down sharply; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) dropped 1 3/4 to 63 5/16, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) lost 2 25/64 to 44 35/64, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) dropped 2 5/16 to 51 1/8, Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) fell 4 63/64 to 72 17/64 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) shed 4 15/16 to 65 1/4. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 4 1/8 to 48 1/2, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) dropped 4 1/4 to 116 1/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) dropped 2 3/4 to 50 5/8.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) fell 4 9/16 to 113 5/16 after it announced a new, higher-margin chip and said sales were booming in Asia. However, Intel also talked down estimates on Friday.

Competitor Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD), down 5 5/16 to 78 1/2, said it would sell 90 percent of its communications products unit to technology buyout firm Francisco Partners.

A couple of mergers weren't doing much to improve stocks. Vignette (Nasdaq: VIGN), down 21 to 66, said OnDisplay's (Nasdaq: ONDS) XML-based business-to-business infrastructure products will complement its software tools. It announced plans to buy OnDisplay, down 63/64 to 52 17/64, for $1.7 billion Monday.

WebMethods (Nasdaq: WEBM), down 21 3/16 to 65 13/16 will buy Active Software (Nasdaq: ASWX), down 4 5/8 to 28 3/8, a provider of enterprise infrastructure software, in an all-stock deal worth about $1.3 billion.

Performance Technologies (Nasdaq: PTIX) was cut in half, falling 15 9/16 to 12 11/16 after it announced revenue for the second-quarter would be below estimates due to lower-than-expected orders and a delayed shipment.