Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs overcome rate fears

Earnings and optimism kicked in Wednesday to drive techs out of their slump, even as Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan reiterated his hawkish stance on the state of the economy. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 42.19 to 4,424.31, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 107.66 to 10,197.18.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 25 to 594.95.

Greenspan was dishing out more cautions on the US economy in his speech to the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday. The main task of the Federal Reserve is to sustain the "extraordinary" U.S. economic performance, the Federal Reserve Chairman said.

The Fed chair said low import prices and new people joining the labor force had been two buffers against inflation. The key, Greenspan said, is finding out when these "buffers" might lose their power.

On the IPO front, Nextel Partners (Nasdaq: NXTP), the only U.S. affiliate of wireless telephone company Nextel Communications, priced shares of its IPO at $20 apiece. The stock had yet to debut.

Alcatel (NYSE: ALA), down 4 3/8 to 43 3/8 agreed to buy Canadian company Newbridge Networks (NYSE: NN), down 1 7/8 to 32 1/2. Newbridge also topped estimates with third quarter earnings of 13 cents a share, excluding charges.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) was up 4 1/16 to 128. Lucent (NYSE: LU) fell 3/8 to 52 3/8.

BEA Systems (Nasdaq: BEAS) rose 3 1/4 to 141 1/8 after itbeat estimates, announced a stock split, and was talked up by analysts Wednesday.

ADC (Nasdaq: ADCT), down 4 43/64 to 42 9/64, said it would buy Pairgain (Nasdaq: PAIR), up 1 to 17 1/16. The $1.6 billion deal would expand ADC's broadband network offerings.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 7/16 to 93 3/8. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was down 1 7/8 to 104 7/8. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 4 7/16 to 68, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 9 3/64 to 162 55/64, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 5 to 54 5/8.