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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs fly on thin pre-weekend trading

Techs lifted the Nasdaq to new heights at midday Friday despite thin trading and the announcement of mixed jobs data. The Nasdaq grew 19.32 to a record level of 2725.50, while the Dow Jones industrial average rose 47.81 points, to a record high of 11,114.75.

Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index rose 4.37 to 319.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached 11,114.75 at 11:05 a.m. EDT, the highest level since its record close of 11,107.19 May 13, shrugging off the job data that indicates inflation may be on the way.

Just when stocks thought they were in the clear of the Federal Reserve, job market news triggered Fed-watchers' speculations again.

June U.S. payrolls increased by 268,000, topping expectations of 220,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.3 percent from an expected flat 4.2 percent. The biggest surprise was that average hourly earnings rose a nickel, or 0.4 percent to $13.23. This could be indicative of inflationary pressures, and irk the Fed to tighten interest rates again. But even the super-sensitive bond market shrugged off losses posted right after the report was released, and floated off towards its early close for the holiday.

Among stocks in the news today, 3D software and hardware maker Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: ESCC) fell 1 1/2 to 12 1/2 after it said it expects losses.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), up 1/2 to 91 11/16, has inked an agreement with rival RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) which rose 8 15/16 to 86 13/16.

How does a company with scarcely $1 million in quarterly revenue post the third best stock debut of all time? Robert Wrubel, CEO of Ask Jeeves Inc. (Nasdaq: ASKJ), up 4 13/16 to 69 3/4 after yesterday's IPO knows.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), up 15/16 to 63 13/16, said on Friday that its $780 million merger with Dialogic Corp. (Nasdaq: DLGC), up 1/8 to 44, had received regulatory clearance. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) lost 1/8 to 17 1/4.

Omtool Ltd. (Nasdaq: OMTL), fell 1/2 to 2 5/8 after the fax software developer announced wider-than expected losses.

In telecom news-related movers, SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), down 3/4 to 55 3/8, and Ameritech Corp. (NYSE: AIT), down 13/16 to 71 1/16, applied to Federal regulators to promote telephone competition and win support for their $61 billion merger. Western Wireless Corp. (Nasdaq: WWCA) rose 3 1/4 tp 32 13/16 on rumors that AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), up 5/16 to 56 15/16, might be on the verge of buying it. And Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST), even at 33 3/8, finally convinced USWest Inc. (NYSE: USW), up 1/4 to 59, to talk over its offer.

Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), fell 1/2 to 54 7/16 after being troubled by chronic service problems. Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) dropped 2 1/8 to 175 1/8, while Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) gained 1 3/16 to 123 9/16, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) added 1 1/2 to 113 5/8. Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), shed 2 1/2 to 99 7/8; Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), gained 1 3/4 to 52 1/8, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG) inched up 13/16 to 47 1/16. CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) gained 1 7/16 to 113 1/2.

Among PC-related issues, Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) gained 15/16 to 46 1/4 after it said it has filed a suit against Future Power, charging its new computer looks like the iMac. Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) picked up 1 11/16 to 61 3/4, Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) added 3/8 to 37 and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) fell 1/16 to 23 1/2. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) lost 1/4 to 130 3/4.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained 1 1/8 to 65 1/2. 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) fell 3/16 to 26 7/8, and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) picked up 1 9/16 to 69 5/8.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) gained 3/16 to 37 15/16, and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) tacked on 1 15/16 to 70 1/8.