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MIDDAY MARKETS: Novell leads nosedive

The Nasdaq continued to slide at midday Wednesday with some help from Novell's profit warning. The technology-laden index tumbled 106.83 to 3,678.62, and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 180.88 to 10,550.24.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 18 to 482.27.

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) plunged 35 percent, or 6 11/16 to 11 3/8 Wednesday after it disappointed Wall Street with a second quarter profit warning. Other software stocks also took a hit; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 7/16 to 69 7/16 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) fell 2 9/16 to 75 1/4.

Nice Systems (Nasdaq: NICE) pleasantly surprised Wall Street Wednesday with first quarter earnings. Shares were up 1 to 65 7/8.

CAIS Internet (Nasdaq: CAIS) was up 1 7/8 to 18 5/8 after news that Microsoft will invest $40 million in the company as part of an alliance for broadband access.

WebMethods (Nasdaq: WEBM) sank 15 3/4 to 98, or 15 percent despite a fourth quarter report that beat estimates and showed strong revenue growth.

Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GBLX) continued to gain on its strong first quarter results, up 1 5/8 to 34 1/4.

Other leading tech companies were also taking a beating; Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) dropped 7/8 to 48 15/16, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) fell 2 3/8 to 65 5/8 and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was down 37/16 to 117 11/16.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 13/16 to 55 5/16, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) shed 2 5/16 to 120 1/4 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 1 1/16 to 56 11/16.