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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs still seeing red

Techs continued to skid into the red at midday Wednesday, though Oracle's better-than-expected earnings brought some gains.

The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 77.94 to 4,628.69, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 80.6 to 6,9891.90.

The Inter@ctive Week @NetIndex dropped 9 to 624.29.

In economic news, the Federal Reserve said production at U.S. mines, factories and utilities rose 0.3 percent in February, much slower than January's increase. Industry ran at 81.7 percent of capacity, slightly less than economists had forecast.

Oracle Corp (Nasdaq: ORCL) was topping the Nasdaq volume charts Wednesday, up 5 1/8 to 82 1/8 after reporting better-than-expected earnings after Tuesday's bell. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose 5/8 to 95 3/4.

On the IPO front, Loudeye Technologies (Nasdaq: LOUD), whose applications simplify the delivery of video and audio to the Web, priced shares at $16 each but had yet to trade.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), up 2 9/16 to 120 7/16, said it will buy Danish cable company NKT's Giga unit for $1.25 billion, furthering the company's diversification strategy with a move into networking chips.

eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) dropped 11 3/8 to 199 5/8 after it said it is setting up a new marketplace for small businesses to trade goods. Rumors that a merger between Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc., two of the most popular consumer sites on the Internet, were also afoot. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 7 7/16 to 161 5/16.

E.piphany Inc. (Nasdaq: EPNY), a maker of customer relationship management software, said Wednesday it would < ahref="">acquire privately held Octane Software, Inc. in a stock swap valued at roughly $3.2 billion.

Ravisent (Nasdaq: RVST) fell 1 ? to 16 ?, or 10 percent after it restated its second and third quarter results and reported lower revenue in its fourth quarter. A class-action lawsuit also dinged shares. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell 1 9/16 to 64 1/16 after a PaineWebber analyst cut her target to $68 from $74. America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 1/8 to 61 5/8.