MIDDAY MARKETS: Ciena sparks rally

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Ciena sparked a tech rally at midday Thursday after reporting a strong quarter and upbeat outlook. The Nasdaq rose 82.02 points to 2,573.42 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 96.46 points to 10,891.87.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 11 points to 278.10.

Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) gained $14.88 to $91.69 after it topped earnings and revenue estimates Thursday with a strong first quarter. CEO Patrick Nettles said he expects Ciena's business will continue to grow faster than the overall market, and raised revenue projections for 2001.

Shares of Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 38 cents to $14.06, recovering from a 10 percent dip after the company was given a rare "sell" rating at Prudential Securities, based on iffy prospects for the company's expansion into new businesses.

Interwoven (Nasdaq: IWOV) shot up $4.69 to $24.75 Thursday after an analyst initiated coverage of the stock with a "strong buy" and slapped a $32 price target on the stock.

Rural telephone services company Alltel (NYSE: AT) warned on Thursday that its 2001 earnings may fall short of Wall Street expectations and that it set plans to trim its regional operations and cut 1,000 jobs, even as wireless subscriber growth accelerates.

Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), down $1.44 to $21.56, reported a fourth-quarter loss, as expected.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) rose $1.18 to $30.56, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was up $1.81 to $35.94, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) gained $1.09 to $26.09 and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) tacked on $1.06 to $59.44.

AOL (NYSE: AOL) rose $1.46 to $49.99, and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) gained $2.69 to $31.19.