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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs mixed earnings news

Techs waffled over mixed earnings at midday Wednesday and edged slightly higher after the semiconductor sector decided looking ahead was more important than meeting estimates. The Nasdaq rose 2.04 to 2,780.27, while the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 51.61 to 11,123.41.

Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index rose 0.02 to 319.

On the economic front, the Labor Department reported the producer price fell 0.1 percent for June, lower than the expected rise of 0.1 percent. It was the first drop in the PPI since February's 0.5 percent decrease. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.1 percent in June, falling short of the expected 0.3 percent gain.

Among stocks in the news today Lower than expected earnings and bullish forecasts for the second half left Intel Corp. (Nastaq: INTC) shares balancing slightly up on the see-saw, rising 1 3/16 to 66 9/16 Wednesday morning. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) gained 5/16 to 17 3/8 and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 3/4 to 92 7/8.

Wireless communications and semiconductor maker Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), fell 2 1/8 to 94 3/8 after it easily topped analysts' estimates in its second quarter.

TIBCO Software Inc. (Nasdaq: TIBX) rocketed 135 percent, rising 20 3/16 to 35 3/16 on its IPO.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), up 7/8 to 127, said today that it has acquired 49 percent of, a retailer which specializes in discounting name-brand goods.

Adding to merger mania, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGGS), up 1/8 to 12 13/16, said Wednesday that it will merge with Onsale Inc. (Nasdaq: ONSL), down 7/8 to 21 5/8 in a stock swap valued at $400 million.

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) gained 5/16 to 157 1/4 while Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) was steady at 126 1/8, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) fell 1 1/8 to 124. Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), rose 1 1/16 to 101, Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK), rose 11/16 to 44 3/16, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), fell 1 to 48 15/16 and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG), fell 7/16 to 47 13/16. CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) dropped 1 13/16 to 112 1/16.

PairGain Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: PAIR) missed analysts' estimates for the second consecutive quarter Tuesday, earning $3.5 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $61.2 million.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) fell 22/32 to 64 17/32. 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) inched up 1/16 to 26 15/16 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) picked up 7/16 to 73 1/8.

Network Associates (Nasdaq: NETA) rose 8 percent, up 1 1/2 to 21, on rumors it may be an attractive takeover candidate for rivals such as Microsoft, Computer Associates, Novell, and Cisco Systems, according to a Bloomberg report.

Among PC-related issues: Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), scheduled to report earnings after the bell, moved up 1 7/16 to 55 1/8, Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) tacked on 5/8 to 68 15/16 , Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) added 3/8 to 42 5/8, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) grew 1/4 to 26 3/8, and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) fell 1 1/16 to 136 13/16.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) fell 3/4 to 37 15/16, AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) dropped 1/2 to 56 5/8 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) dipped 5/16 to 73 3/16.