MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs continue slide

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A couple of better-than-expected earnings reports weren't enough to shake the dour trend at midday Thursday. The Nasdaq tumbled 14.71 to 3,153.78 and the Dow Jones industrial average shed 246.76 to 1,0167.03.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 1 to 436.37.

KLA-Tencor Corp. (Nasdaq: KLAC), up 4.21 to 37.13, said revenue for its first fiscal quarter was $535 million, a 96 percent increase from the $273 million of the September 1999 quarter, and up 11 percent over the previous quarter. The company also topped earnings estimates. Story

Natural MicroSystems Corp. (Nasdaq: NMSS), down 7.50 to 44.87, said third quarter income was 15 cents a share, well above First Call's expected profit of 8 cents a share, and above last year's third quarter earnings of 11 cents a share.

Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq: SCMR) rose 5.56 to 78.25 after it announced BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) will use its intelligent optical switches and transport platforms to for its "Florida Multimedia Internet eXchange" network in South Florida.

Dot-coms continued to suffer with a couple of new departures; Stamps.com (Nasdaq: STMP) CEO and chairman John Payne has stepped down, the company said Thursday. Former U.S. Postmaster General Marvin Runyon will act as chairman until a permanent replacement is found. Shares fell 0.44 to 2.50.

WebMD (Nasdaq: HLTH) co-CEO Jeffrey Arnold has resigned from the company, leaving Martin J. Wygod to go it alone in the top spot. Shares rose 0.16 to 10.

Unisys Corp. (Nasdaq: UIS), up 0.31 to 10, matched analysts' estimates for the third quarter, but said it would offer early retirement to 1,500 workers in a move to trim costs.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 0.44 to 27.38, AOL (NYSE: AOL) fell 1.50 to 53 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) dropped 4.69 to 60.69.

Among other leading tech issues: Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) dropped 0.44 to 51.63, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) rose 1.13 to 36.5, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was up 0.44 to 56.19, and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) gained 0.44 to 62.69.