MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs celebrate CPI data

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Benign CPI data added punch to techs' party at midday Friday. Investors bid stocks up on the assumption that interest rates would only get a quarter-point hike at the next Fed meeting. The Nasdaq rose 110.29 to 4,067.50, and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 106.11 to 11,688.54.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index leapt 12 to 550.29.

A key inflation indicator, the Consumer Price Index, rose just 0.2 percent in December, the Labor Department said, less than economists' had predicted. The report backed up news that prices at the producer level stayed low last month.

The markets were taking the day's shocker in stride; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was up after the company named Steve Ballmer president and chief executive officer, replacing Bill Gates, who will step down after 25 years but will remain chairman and devote his time to developing new software.

Shares of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) jumped 7 15/16 to 99 early Friday after analysts cheered the company's fourth quarter upside surprise and first quarter outlook. Advanced Micro Devices (Nasdaq: AMD) rose 1 5/16 to 39 1/16

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) shares jumped 8 15/16 to 147 1/2 after Lehman Brothers raised its price target to $200 from $160 and added the company to its "1999/2000 Ten Uncommon Values List." In addition, PaineWebber increased its 2001 earnings-per-share estimate to $4.35 from $4.18 based on assumed higher growth rate for wireless phones and infrastructure and upped its price target to $196 from $146. Motorola plans to release fourth-quarter results after the bell Monday. However, there is no bell because the market is closed for Martin Luther King day.

Next Level Communications (Nasdaq: NXTV) rose 2 1/2 to 70 1/2 and Liberate Technologies (Nasdaq: LBRT) lost 16 3/16 to 202 9/16 after they said they are teaming up to deliver interactive TV using DSL technology.

Calico Commerce (Nasdaq: CLIC) took back all the ground it had gained ahead of its quarterly report. Shares sank 9 5/16 to 47 5/8, or 16 percent even after the company topped estimates.

Digital Impact (Nasdaq: DIGI) rose 8 to 48 1/2, or 20 percent Friday after the company released its new viral e-mail marketing product.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 1 5/16 to 67 1/4, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) jumped 6 15/16 to 353 13/16, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 2 3/4 to 62 3/4.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) rose 2 3/16 to 45 5/16, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) jumped 7/16 to 30 13/16 and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) added 3 11/16 to 121 15/16.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained 2 9/64 to 108 21/64 and Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) shed 7/8 to 55 3/8.