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MIDDAY MARKETS: PPI, Dell fuel rally

Techs rallied at midday Friday, as a benign PPI report and Dell earnings put investors in a buying mood. The Nasdaq rose 113.69 to 3,613.27 and the Dow was up 122.00 to 10,667.97.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 17 to 471.33.

The PPI report, which was released by the Labor Department before market open, helped initiate a buying spree. Dropping energy prices helped push the Producer Price Index down by 0.3 percent last month, its biggest drop since February 1999. Though the figures were better-than-expected, they aren't expected to deter the Federal Reserve from raising rates again next Tuesday.

Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) was up 5 5/16 to 50, or 12 percent after it hurdled Wall Street estimates and got a couple of upgrades.

Other PC stocks moved higher. Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) gained gained 13/16 to 27 13/16, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP) was up 4 1/2 to 135 3/8, IBM (NYSE: IBM) gained 1 1/16 to 105 1/2, Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) surged 6 1/16 to 82 7/8 and Gateway (NYSE: GTW) was up 3 5/8 to 53 5/8.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose 1 5/8 to 69 1/2. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) gained 3 3/16 to 118 3/4.

Sequoia Software (Nasdaq: SQSW) rose 3 15/16 to 11 15/16, or 49 percent after braving harsh market conditions to offer 4.2 million shares at $8 each Friday

IXYS Corp. (Nasdaq: SYXI) jumped 7 to 31 1/8 or 29 percent Friday after the company reported a fourth quarter profit.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained 2 3/16 to 62 7/16 after it said it will buy Qeyton Systems for about $800 million in stock, its 11th purchase of the year.

Lycos (Nasdaq: LCOS) was up 4 5/16 to 58 5/16 after Spanish Internet group Terra Networks (Nasdaq: TRRA), up 2 3/4 to 59 1/2, said it was in talks with the U.S. Web portal in a move that could create a new global Net giant behind AOL (NYSE: AOL), up 1 3/8 to 55 5/16 and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), up 3 9/16 to 128 7/8 of the U.S. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 1 to 55 7/8.