MIDDAY MARKETS: IPOs shine among dull techs

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IPOs were the only gems at midday Wednesday as techs were muddled by an increasingly weak dollar, and no economic inspiration. The Nasdaq whittled away 16.47 to 2804.63, and the Dow Jones industrial average shed 99.10 to 10499.37.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 3.00 to 308.79.

E.piphany (Nasdaq: EPNY) blasted off 163 percent, up 26 to 42 and Broadbase Software Inc. (Nasdaq: BBSW) shot up 11 7/16 to 25 7/16, kicking off a week of promising IPOs. Kana Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: KANA) had yet to debut.

3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) was the most active stock on the Nasdaq, racing ahead 2 7/16 to 26 3/4, or 9 percent, after yesterday's report of better-than-expected earnings.

Among stocks in the news, Seattle FilmWorks (Nasdaq: FOTO) piggy-backed up 32 percent, or 1 3/16 to 4 15/16, on a deal with Amazon.com whereby Amazon's auctions customers will use FilmWorks' PhotoWorks storage site to upload and post their digital images. Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) shares were down 5/16 to 61 15/16.

In its first earnings report as a public company, Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT), down 3 to 109 3/8, reported a fiscal second quarter loss in line with expectations Wednesday as sales jumped 95 percent from a year ago.

Cisco said Wednesday it will buy privately-held WebLine Communications for $325 million in stock, to bolster development of its open software platform for enterprise and service provider customers. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) lost 1/8 to 71. Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) dropped 13/16 to 66 7/16.

Fellow networker 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) was up 2 to 29 7/16 after reporting strong earnings.

Gateway Inc. moved to break into Latin America's largest market with a deal to allow Vitech America Inc. to make and sell Gateway computers in Brazil. Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) shed 1 1/16 to 49 5/8, while Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL)lost 3/8 to 46 1/8. Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) jumped 1 3/4 to 71.

Embellishing its security lineup for Internet businesses, IBM today said it plans to acquire DASCOM, a developer of network security software that helps businesses connect their systems to the Web.IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) lost 1 1/16 to 126 1/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) dropped 1 1/8 to 91 7/16. Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) rose 3/16 to 23 9/16.

In one of the biggest deals it has ever done, Xerox Corp. (NYSE:XRX), down 7/16 to 41 9/16, announced Wednesday that it would buy a division of Tektronix Inc. (NYSE:TEK), down 7/8 to 34 for $950 million.

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) sank 2 1/4 to 85 5/8, Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) rose 1 11/16 to 66 1/4 and AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) dropped 5/16 to 44 3/16.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) added 5/16 to 44 13/16, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) inched ahead 7/16 to 95 1/16, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) added 15/16 to 82 15/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) rose 1/8 to 18 5/8.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) gained 2 to 171 9/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 2 15/16 to 87 13/16. Other Net notables included: Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), down 11/16 to 45 7/16, Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), down 1/16 to 28, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), down 1/38 to 36 5/8, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG) up 1 13/16 to 28 3/16. eBay Inc.(Nasdaq: EBAY) lost 11/16 to 139 15/16 and CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) rose 1 3/8 to 81 1/2.