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MIDDAY MARKETS: Interest rate fears rattle techs

Interest rate woes plagued techs at midday Tuesday, as the market anticipated more of the same bearish statements from Fed chief Alan Greenspan this week. The Nasdaq fell 79.58 to 4,332.16, and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 28.54 to 10,190.98.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 13 to 574.64.

The overall markets were still depressed over last week's Humphrey-Hawkins testimony, in which Alan Greenspan indicated interest rates would continue to rise as long as the economy keeps growing. Another speech from the Federal Reserve Chairman Wednesday isn't expected to alleviate the slump.

Techs were on a buying spree to make up for the holiday on merger Monday, with three acquisitions in the communications sector.

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) lost 2 13/16 to after it said Tuesday it will buy Sterling Commerce (NYSE: SE), up 12 to 43 9/16, in a cash deal valued at $3.9 billion. The move puts SBC in the hot business-to-business e-commerce market.

Telecommunications and technology company Motorola Inc (NYSE: MOT), up 1 11/16 to 146 5/8, said Monday it would buy closely held C-Port Corp., a company that makes networking equipment, for $430 million in stock.

Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GBLX), down 1 1/8 to 51 1/4 is buying communications provider IXnet and its parent company IPC Communications in a stock deal valued at $3.8 billion.

Nextel Communications (Nasdaq: NXTL) rose 5 5/16 to 124 after the digital wireless phone company reported a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Cysive, Inc. (Nasdaq: CYSV) on Tuesday announced a 2-for-1 stock-split and a secondary offering of 3 million shares of its common stock. Shares fell 11 to 100.

Chemdex (Nasdaq: CMDX), down 1/16 to 119 15/16 is about to be re-born as a broad business-to-business company named Ventro, the company said Tuesday.

PSINet (Nasdaq: PSIX) lost 5 1/2 to 40 5/16 after it said fourth quarter operating loss was 99 cents a share, topping estimates. Edward Postal, CFO, also resigned.

Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) dropped 9/16 to 33 1/2. It and Dow Jones are teaming up to create a portal site aimed at the small business market, to be called Work.com. A public offering of a minority interest is planned for later this year.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 1/8 to 64 7/8, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost 4 1/2 to 151 5/8, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 2 to 49 1/4.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 1 19/64 to 93 49/64. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) fell 3 3/8 to 102.