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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs rally on tame economic data

Data on worker productivity gave techs a boost at midday Tuesday, as the indication that inflation remains tame helped alleviate fears of interest rate hikes. The Nasdaq rose 58.34 to 4,380.1, and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 82.21 to 10,988.00.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 9 to 593.27.

U.S. stocks rallied at midday Tuesday as worker productivity data helped alleviate fears of strong interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. U.S. worker productivity jumped 5 percent in the fourth quarter, the fastest pace in seven years, according to the Labor Department. Meanwhile, unit labor costs fell 1 percent, below expectations of a 0.5 percent rise, suggesting inflation remains in check.

On the IPO front, (Nasdaq: BUYX) jumped 14 5/8 to 27 5/8 priced its 14 million share initial public offering at $13 for trading Tuesday. Merrill Lynch is the lead underwriter. Fastnet (Nasdaq: FSST) had also priced shares at $12 a piece for its debut.

Earnings were also inspiring some movement. (Nasdaq: BNBN) lived up to its pre-announcement and reported strong sales for the fourth quarter Tuesday. Shares lost 1/2 to 11 3/16.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) was up 5/16 to 125 1/2 ahead of its earnings to be reported after the bell.

Shares in (Nasdaq: PHCM) a maker of software that allows Internet connections through wireless devices, lost 1 1/8 to 137 3/16 after it announced it would buy Paragon Software.

Informix Corp. (Nasdaq: IFMX) fell 11 percent, or 1 7/8 to 14 5/8 after the maker of database and other business software said International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has filed a lawsuit against it.

Metrocall Inc. (Nasdaq: MCLL) fell 3 1/4 to 9 7/8 after it reported a hefty loss Tuesday of $1.10 a share for the quarter, beating First Call's estimate of $1.13 a share. The loss, however, was wider than the loss of $1.04 a share in 1998's comparable quarter.

Breakaway Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: BWAY), an e-business software company, lost 13 3/4 to 107 3/4 after it reported a fourth quarter operating loss of $2.6 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $10.6 million.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 15 5/8 to 369 5/8 after it suffered a denial-of-service attack Monday morning -- knocking one of the Web's most popular sites offline for approximately three hours. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 5 11/16 to 80 11/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 1 3/8 to 58 3/8.

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) rose 1/4 to 42 5/16, Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) shed 3/8 to 30 1/2 and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) lost 1 9/16 to 114 3/16.