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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs shrug off warnings

Techs inched cautiously ahead at midday Thursday, despite falling shares of Lucent, Palm, and RealNetworks. The Nasdaq inched up 9.73 to 2,342.51 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 58.02 to 10,376.95.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 8 to 273.71.

Thursday's only neutral news was a strategic acquisition by software giant Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq: MSFT). The company's shares were up 1.69 to 43.19 after it said it would acquire Great Plains Software Inc. (Nasdaq: GPSI), up 11.31 to 46.63, in a stock deal valued at $1.1 billion.

Another positive release came from Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q), up 1.56 to 33.94; in an effort to quell investors' fears in the face of a plunging stock market, the company said that it expects to meet or beat analysts' estimates for its fourth-quarter earnings because of strong demand for its products and services

Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), down 1.94 to 13.56, saved its worst profit warning for last. Lucent said Thursday it will post a fiscal first quarter loss of 25 cents a share to 30 cents a share. The company also restated its fourth quarter results because of revenue recognition shenanigans and said it would restructure to save $1 billion.

Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) plunged as much as 31 percent, and was down 10.25 to 27.88 at midday despite a strong quarterly report and unanimous kudos from analysts.

RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) plunged 4.16 to 5.78 after its first profit warning in 12 quarters as a public company. Analysts were mixed in their reviews of the company's fourth quarter outlook.

Troubled copier giant Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) on Thursday warned of a wider than expected fourth-quarter loss and said it has used up its $7 billion credit line used to finance operations, causing its shares to fall 17 percent. Shares fell 1 to 5.

Despite missing estimates in its first quarter, Micron Technology (NYSE: MU) still looks good in the long term according to a host of analysts.

Shares of wireless components maker Conexant (Nasdaq: CNXT) dropped 5.44 to 14.94 after the company warned for its first quarter and received a couple of analyst downgrades.

Telecom equipment maker Virata Corp.'s (Nasdaq: VRTA) shares dropped 4.13 to 9.94 after the company said it would miss estimates for its third and fourth quarters due to the rescheduling of semiconductor shipments to its customers.

Tech bellwethers were on an upswing; Cisco(Nasdaq: CSCO) rose 2.94 to 39.44, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was up 1.94 to 33.875 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) gained 1.06 to 29.56.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 0.18 to 16.88, AOL (NYSE: AOL) shed 1.9 to 35.35 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost 0.75 to 27.19.