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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs on holiday shopping spree

Techs went on a Christmas shopping spree at midday Tuesday, unafraid of the "tightening bias" that held back the broader markets. The Nasdaq rose 37.99 to 3,821.86, and the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 13.46 to 11,130.81.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index leapt 12 to 550.29.

As the markets awaited news of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee's decision on interest rates, due out at 2:15 p.m. EST, the Dow sunk in apprehension of a "tightening bias." Though investors aren't expecting the Fed to actually raise rates, it could shift from its current "neutral" stance to indicate a rate hike ahead in 2000.

Techs were on a spending spree just before the holiday lull.

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) lost 1 3/16 to 97 13/16 after it said it would buy Softworks Inc. (Nasdaq: SWRX) in a cash transaction valued at about $192 million., Inc. (Nasdaq: PHCM) rose 3 5/8 to 129 7/8 after it said it will buy @Motion Inc. for $285 million to add voice portal technology to its current services. Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLN), publisher of CBS SportsLine, jumped 11 5/8 to 74 after it announced its domestic e-commerce business would be acquired and operated by, an online shopping Web site for sporting goods.

CheckFree Holdings (Nasdaq: CKFR) gained 1 5/16 to 90 5/8 as it said it will buy BlueGill Technologies for $250 million in order to offer a more complete and simplified method of Internet billing.

Juno Online Services Inc. (Nasdaq: JWEB) was the headline gainer of the day. The stock burst ahead 116 percent Tuesday, up 33 5/8 to 62 5/8 after PaineWebber doubled its price target to $120. Juno unveiled plans to give away free Internet access Monday. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 1 7/16 to 98 7/16, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) jumped 14 to 383 1/2, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 11/16 to 86 15/16.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) rose 3/16 to 47 7/8, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) rose 1 1/8 to 26 1/4 and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) added 139/256 to 109 3/4.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) lost 1/2 to 102 3/4 and Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) shed 17/32 to 81 3/4. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) rose 1 1/4 to 82 5/16.