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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs edge higher, Sprint falls

Techs inched higher at midday Thursday as bad news from Sprint tempered hopes the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut can spark the sagging economy.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 23.62 to 2,796.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 51.08 to 10,938.44.

Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index fell 1 to 309.63.

Wednesday's news of an interest rate cut was anticlimactic since the markets had been assured by a series of soft economic indicators that the Fed was sure to step in. Investors weighed worse-than-expected long distance numbers from Sprint against its booming wireless business, along with other earnings reports.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON), down $0.49 to $24.31, met expectations for the fourth quarter Thursday but said its first-quarter results would miss consensus estimates as its long distance revenue continues to drop. Sprint PCS (NYSE: PCS) rose $1.19 to $31.69.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) met estimates for its fourth quarter Thursday and said it was comfortable with current projections for fiscal 2001. Shares were off $0.74 to $54.21.

CacheFlow Inc. (Nasdaq: CFLO) lost $3.75 to $16.25 Thursday after it warned third quarter sales will miss estimates. The company also sees a wider-than-expected loss. Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT) was off $0.62 to $16.06.

Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP) tumbled $6.56 to $47.06 Thursday after it was downgraded to "hold" by Credit Suisse First Boston.

Digex Inc. (Nasdaq: DIGX), down $0.94 to $26.5. The provider of Internet connections and storage for Web sites recorded a widening loss in the fourth-quarter, as expenses more than doubled.

Contract electronics manufacturer Celestica (NYSE: CLS), up $8.76 to $74.81, had its strong quarter and 2001 outlook applauded by analysts on Thursday. The company received an upgrade from Prudential Securities, while estimates were raised by a host of other brokerages.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained $0.88 to $38.31, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was up $0.25 to $37.25, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) rose $0.56 to $29.69 and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) gained $1 to $62.06. (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell $1 to $16.31, AOL Time Warner (NYSE: AOL) lost $1.19 to $51.37 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell $1 to $36.31.