MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs holding back

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Techs were dragging their feet at midday Monday, nudged ahead by some news despite their reluctance to do anything ahead of tomorrow's Fed meeting. The Nasdaq rose 11.46 to 3,232.61, and the Dow Jones industrial crept up 4.28 to 10,773.60.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index leapt 8 to 422.30.

Alan Greenspan dropped no hints on monetary his remarks prepared for delivery to an insurance group Monday, leaving investors to wait for the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting tomorrow.

Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT), up 5 11/16 to 107 1/2, said Monday it will buy privately-held Cygnus Solutions for about $674 million in a move to accelerate the adoption of Red Hat Linux.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) shares were down 1 27/32 to 87 11/32, as CEO Bill Gates showed off his company's new scaled-down Internet appliance to a standing-room crowd at the Comdex computer trade show.

PairGain Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAIR), up 1 1/16 to 15 7/8 said it will sell its microelectronics design group of about 40 engineers, and take a charge of $2.5 million in the fourth quarter associated with the move.

Priceline.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN), up 4 3/8 to 61, and Ford Motor Co. said they will test-market a "name-your-own-price" online buying option for new Fords in Florida this week.

Three online brokers said Monday they are forming venture capital firms to form an online investment bank to which will bring Internet and technology IPOs to their customers. TD Waterhouse Group, Inc. (NYSE: TWE) rose 1 3/4 to 18 3/8 or 10 percent and Ameritrade Holding Corporation, (Nasdaq: AMTD) jumped 3 ? to 25 7/16, or 16 percent. Charles Schwab & Co., (NYSE: SCH) lost 3/16 to 42 11/16, as statistics on monthly trading volumes were released.

Shares in Night/Trimark (Nasdaq: NITE), up 4 7/64 to 43 7/64 and E*Trade Group (Nasdaq: EGRP), up 2 1/4 to 39, were also gaining ground.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) was down 1/4 to 74 11/16, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 6 3/16 to 203 1/8, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) grew 4 1/4 to 153.

Among other tech bellwethers, Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) lost 1 to 40 3/4, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) was even at 22, and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) sank 11/16 to 95 3/16.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) lost 5/16 to 83 1/8 and Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) rose added 2 1/2 to 74 5/8. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) lost 13/16 to 75 3/8.