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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs ignore economic news

Techs shrugged off ominous economic reports at midday Thursday, and continued to bounce back on a strong batch of earnings. The Nasdaq rose 34.62 to 3,664.71 while the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 148.14 to 10,797.36.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 3 to 483.51.

The Nasdaq managed to shrug off a pair of important economic reports that could presage gloom for markets and interest rates.

Shares of AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE) moved up 1 1/8 to 30 5/8 in heavy trading Thursday in the largest U.S. initial public offering ever.

Another slew of better-than-expected earnings reports flooded the market; Network Solutions (Nasdaq: NSOL), up 3 1/2 to 118 7/8, reported strong first quarter earnings of $14.7 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $98.2 million.

MCI Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM) slid by estimates in its first quarter on booming revenue due to growth in data, Internet and international sales and declining access costs. Shares were up 3 9/16 to 44 7/16.

Another telecommunications company, GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE), which is set to be acquired by Bell Atlantic Corp.(NYSE: BEL), said Thursday its first-quarter profits rose 11 percent, in line with expectations. GTE slipped 1 3/8 to 70 11/16.

Finnish telecom giant Nokia (NYSE: NOK), up 2 1/4 to 54 1/8, posted a better than expected first quarter profit.

PRI Automation (Nasdaq: PRIA), up 2 1/8 to 70 3/4, said earnings for its second quarter topped estimates. The company also announced a multi-million dollar deal with Hyundai Electronics.

Earnings losers included MicroStrategy (Nasdaq: MSTR); its shares fell another 22 percent Wednesday as analysts booed its first quarter report.

Adaptec (Nasdaq: ADPT), down 5/8 to 28 3/8 hit estimates for its fourth quarter. The company also formed a new software unit.

CyberCash (Nasdaq: CYCH), down 5/8 to 8 1/4 topped estimates with a first quarter loss of $8.6 million, or 35 cents a share.

EToys (Nasdaq: ETYS) was down 1 11/16 to 7 13/16, though said it had a "clear path to profitability," and said the worst of its quarterly losses were behind it.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 1 13/16 to 51 11/16 after a first quarter loss, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) dropped 1 15/16 to 117 3/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) shed 7/8 to 59 1/8.

In non-earnings news, Bank of America will take out a 16 percent stake in CheckFree Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: CKFR), which was up 7 15/16 to 47 1/2.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose 7/16 to 68 7/16, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) gained 1 9/16 to 122 3/8, and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) dropped 3/16 to 66 9/16.

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