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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs briefly boost Nasdaq over 3,700

Techs were scurrying to boost the Nasdaq composite index back over the 3,700-mark after it slipped from the record high at midday Thursday. The Nasdaq rose 57.19 to 3679.14, and the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 64.23 to 11161.09.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index leapt 8 to 523.16.

The Nasdaq hit a new record despite the less-than-enthusiastic economic mood Thursday. On the broader market, U.S. debt futures traded lower early, pressured by a record-high U.S. trade deficit, which was $25.94 billion for October, versus an expected $24.3 billion.

Helping boost Internet issues was investment firm CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI), up 25 1/4 to 225 1/2, or 13 percent after it posted narrower-than-expected fiscal first-quarter loss and said a a 2-for-1 stock split was coming.

Internet Capital Group (Nasdaq: ICGE), another Internet incubator, also plowed up over 10 percent Thursday, but was up just 3 15/16 to 112 1/16 by midday, following the announcement that it would get a $50 million investment from Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F).

On the IPO front, Infonet Services (Nasdaq: IN) jumped to open at 30, after it had priced 51.3 million shares of its stock at $21 each, but was up just 4 1/4 to 25 1/4. OnDisplay (Nasdaq: ONDS) had yet to debut.

Xpedior (Nasdaq: XPDR)jumped 10 11/16 to 29 11/16, after the Internet services company priced its IPO at $19, above its upwardly revised range of $16 to $18.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) was up 3 5/64 to 111 33/64 again Thursday after driving the Nasdaq's gains Wednesday. The world's biggest software company said it had inked an Internet and marketing alliance with Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY), up 2 11/16 to 49 15/16, and plans to buy $200 million worth of Best Buy common stock.

eShare Technologies (Nasdaq: ESHR) rose 30 percent, or 2 7/16 to 10 3/4, piggybacking on a deal with America Online (NYSE: AOL) whereby the Internet giant will use eShare's customer care products.

Ariba, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA) leapt 12 to 236 after it said Thursday it will acquire privately held Tradex Technologies, Inc., which provides a business-to-business trading platform, in a stock-swap deal valued at $1.86 billion.

America Online Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have signed a wide-ranging marketing deal that includes the creation of a co-branded, low-cost Internet service. AOL (NYSE: AOL)was down 2 5/8 to 87. Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), up 6 13/16 to 334 5/16, has signed a similar deal with Kmart Corp. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 2 1/2 to 94, and Excite At Home rose (Nasdaq: ATHM) shed 1 1/8 to 49 1/16.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) dropped 1/4 to 42 15/16, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) rose 5/16 to 25 5/16, and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) rose 3/16 to 107 3/16.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) rose 2 5/16 to 98 3/16 and Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) rose 5/8 to 78 1/4. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) hopped up 61/64 to 79 57/64.