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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs sluggish, but Dow gains

The blue chips were passing the techs at midday Friday, as the Nasdaq slowed down on profit warnings. The Nasdaq inched back 1.05 to 2,770.81, while the Dow Jones industrial average skipped ahead 19 to 11,145.89.

Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index rose 0.34 to 325.

Profit warners were punished again Friday. Though all eyes are still on earnings, economic news released Thursday indicates strong consumer spending is still on the upswing. The Commerce Department issued a study showing U.S. businesses upped their inventories 0.3 percent in May, while sales by wholesalers hit a record high of $225.5 billion. The Lehman Brothers Same-Store Sales Growth Index showed a 6.8 percent gain, also indicating shoppers continued their spending spree in June.

Though Webvan Group Inc. hasn't gone public, yet, it will be making news on the market. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. will underwrite a junk-bond offering of between $300 million and $400 million sometime later in the summer to finance one of the biggest spending plans ever implemented by an Internet business. The online grocery merchant has placed a two-year, $1 billion order with Bechtel Group to build automated warehouses in 26 markets across the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Peapod Inc. (Nasdaq: PPOD), an online grocer, inched up 1/16 to 8 5/8.

Among stocks in the news today, Liquid Audio (Nasdaq: LQID) soared. After opening at 41, shares were trading at 37 7/8 at midday. Web hosting service Interliant (Nasdaq: INIT), surged up 2 3/16 to 19, still going strong since yesterday's initial offering.

PictureTel Corp. (Nasdaq: PCTL) fell 7/16 to 8 1/16 after it warned Thursday that second quarter losses will be below expectations.

Visio plunged 31 percent, down 9 3/8 to 29 9/16 at midday, after the company said its third quarter earnings would be lower than expected.

Micron Electronics (Nasdaq: MUEI), down 1/16 to 10, announced it will be offering users "free" systems when they sign up for a service package from the computer company.

Among other PC-related issues: Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) was a leader again, gaining 2 3/16 to 42 1/8. Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) surged 2 3/4 to 68 13/16 and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) added 5/16 to 26 1/16. Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) fell 7/8 to 53 5/8, and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) jumped 1 1/2 to 135 1/2.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) added 3/16 to 92 3/4, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) lost 7/8 to 64 7/8, and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) lost 3/16 to 17 3/16.

Wireless phone equipment company Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) was up 7 3/8 to 149 5/8 on news that it will be put into the S&P 500 index.

Graphic-chip manufacturer ATI Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ATYT), edged down 1/4 to 16 1/16 after it topped analysts' estimates by 2 cents a share in its third quarter.

Cabletron Systems Inc. (NYSE: CS), a network-equipment maker rose 11/16 to 13 3/4 after Business Week reported that several investment professionals have confirmed it's being eyed as a possible takeover target by a telecom giant.

ValueVision International Inc. (Nasdaq: VVTV), a home shopping network operator, which edged down 1/16 to 23 7/8. The company said its stock has been added to the Russell 2000 and 3000 indexes as a result of the company's recent gains in market capitalization.

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) fell 2 9/32 to 162 5/32, while Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) grew 5/16 to 125 11/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) fell 3/16 to 127 1/2. Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), sunk 1 11/16 to 105 3/4, Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK) gained1 1/4 to 51 3/4, Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) lost 1 1/4 to 53 9/16, and Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG) lost 1 9/16 to 51 3/4.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) picked up 5/16 to 66 3/4. 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) inched up 1/16 to 26 11/16 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) added 1/16 to 26 11/16.

Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) fell 3/16 to 38 3/4, AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) dropped 7/16 to 58 1/16, and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) dipped 7/16 to 58 1/16.