MIDDAY MARKETS: Intel inspires rally

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Favorable comments about Intel helped techs edge higher at midday Monday, while the broader markets were restrained ahead of an upcoming Fed meeting. The Nasdaq ran up 48.95 to 3,979.29 and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 49.45 to 11,095.93.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 6 to 521.82.

Stocks gained Monday despite anticipation of Tuesday's Federal Reserve meeting on interest rates. While most analysts expect the Fed won't hike interest rates again this time, investors will be on the lookout for the Federal Open Market Committee's stance on inflation and more hikes down the road.

Lehman Brothers raised its estimates on Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), up 3 3/16 to 73 3/4, saying the company's third quarter is looking good. AMD (NYSE: AMD) gained 1 to 71 1/4.

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) was up 15/16 to 43 3/8 as workers returned from strike Monday in New England and New York.

Brocade Communications (Nasdaq: BRCD), up 5/16 to 210 3/8, wasn't discouraged by a bearish report Monday. The giant plowed on as analysts debated whether or not the best is over for the storage networking company.

Clearnet Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CLNT) shot up 13 1/8 to 44 1/8, or 42 percent, on news it is being acquired in a deal that will create Canada's largest wireless company.

Sohu.com (Nasdaq: SOHU), up 3/16 to 6 7/16, has formed a marketing alliance with 24/7 Media Asia, a subsidiary of Chinadotcom Corp. (Nasdaq: CHINA).

Cabletron Systems (NYSE: CS), up 1 91/256 to 36 1/8, will acquire Indus River Networks in a move designed to beef up Cabletron's Enterasys Networks division.

Newly public firms Evoke Communications (Nasdaq: EVOK), up 1 31/32 to 7, and Blue Martini Software Inc. (Nasdaq: BLUE), up 3 7/8 to 68 3/8, got a nice bounce today when their underwriters initiated coverage of the companies.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 1 15/16 to 127 1/8 and AOL (NYSE: AOL) was up 2 5/8 to 57 1/2.

Among other leading tech issues: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 1/2 to 70 1/2, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained 1/2 to 65 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) rose 1 5/8 to 82 15/16.