MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs defy blue chip tumble

2 min read

A spate of stock splits, a big acquisition and upbeat comments about the world's biggest software company helped tech-infused indexes rise Tuesday morning despite weakness in traditional blue chip stocks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 62.60 to 4,967.45 shortly after noon Tuesday. The S&P 500 fell 11.45 to 1,379.83, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 230.51 to 9,939.99. The New York Stock Exchange instituted trading curbs after the Dow slid 220 points.

Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index was up 57.63 to 6,732.13.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose 5 5/8 to 96 1/4 as the Nasdaq's most active stock. Goldman Sachs analyst Rick Sherlund said the software titan appears to be on track to meet first quarter targets and settle its antitrust case with the federal government.

Verisign (Nasdaq: VRSN) dropped 37 1/2 to 209 15/16. The digital certificate specialist announced a plan to buy Internet domain registrar Network Solutions (Nasdaq: NSOL) in a multibillion stock swap. Shares of Network Solutions shot up 60 5/16 to 420 15/16.

The IT services company formerly known as Mastech gained in early trading. The firm, now called iGate Capital (Nasdaq: IGTE), has turned into a holding company for nine operating units. Shares of iGate rose 3 1/4 to 46 3/16.

Terayon Communications Systems (Nasdaq: TERN) advanced 30 5/16 to 260 1/4. The company on Monday said strong demand for its broadband networking systems will result in an upside surprise in its first quarter.

Lam Research (Nasdaq: LRCX) picked up 5 3/4 to 157 1/8. The chip equipment manufacturer announced a 3-for-1 stock split after the bell Monday.

Stock split news also boosted Internet services provider Breakaway Solutions (Nasdaq: BWAY), up 16 1/8 to 163 1/8. Breakaway plans a 2-for-1 stock split later this month.

Plans for a 3-for-2 split carried shares of DSL provider Covad Communications (Nasdaq: COVD) higher. Shares of Covad gained 4 3/4 to 96.

In Covad-related news, DSL.net (Nasdaq: DSLN) rose 2 7/16 to 28 1/8 after the company announced a partnership with Covad.

Biometric security specialist Saflink (Nasdaq: ESAF) increased 2 7/16 to 7 7/8. The company received patent approval for a set-top box fingerprint ID product.

Electronic transaction software vendor IFS International (Nasdaq: IFSH) vaulted up 3 7/8 to 8 1/4 after announcing a deal to develop smart card testing systems for Visa International.

Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) dropped 6 7/16 to 83 3/4, yielding some of the gains from Monday, when the company said it sees better-than-expected first quarter revenue.>