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Techs rallied again at midday Thursday despite a dour forecast for the telecom sector. The Nasdaq rose 66.13 to 3,722.43 and the Dow Jones industrial average rose 166.85 to 10,795.21.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 9 to 511.45.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), down 0.94 to 56.37 and Nortel (NYSE: NT), up 1.81 to 61.44, were downgraded Thursday on concerns over declining spending on telecom equipment, which may cause trouble for the whole telecom sector, according to research from investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein.

Nortel also inked deals totaling $525 million in China. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) was down 0.19 to 28.88, Lucent (NYSE: LU), rose 3.06 to 31.94 and Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY) fell 0.05 to 15.56.

Exodus Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXDS), down 1.25 to 52, confirmed Thursday it will buy a stake in the GlobalCenter subsidiary of Global Crossing Ltd. (Nasdaq: GBLX), up 2.5 to 32.38, for around $6.1 billion.

Vastera (Nasdaq: VAST) gained 2.94 to 16.94 in its debut, after the company, which provides import/export consulting to businesses through an online database, priced its 6 million shares at $14 for trading Thursday. Shares priced above their upwardly revised range of $11-$13.

WebMD (Nasdaq: HLTH), up 1.19 to 12.43, gave investors their first peek at the company's long awaited restructuring plans. The company said the first phase of its cost-cutting will eliminate 1,100 jobs by the end of calendar 2001, consolidate operations and divest two stray subsidiaries.

Broadband Access firm Paradyne Networks (Nasdaq: PDYN), down 3.81 to 6.19, said that it will miss third quarter estimates due to reduced customer orders.

LSI Logic (NYSE: LSI), up 1.25 to 30, sought to reassure investors about its third quarter this morning, after news from Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) threatened to hit LSI's stock.

Online direct marketing firm Netcentives (Nasdaq: NCNT), up 1.59 to 7.75, said it will beat expectations for third quarter revenues.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 1 to 38.88, AOL (NYSE: AOL) gained 0.21 to 53.71 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) gained 4.87 to 95.25.

Among other leading tech issues: Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) rose 0.31 to 44.19, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was up 0.63 to 61.25, and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) shed 0.38 to 79.5. >