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MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs tread water

Lower consumer confidence numbers and a solid earnings report from EarthLink couldn't keep the Nasdaq in positive territory at midday Tuesday. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 1.17 to 2,837.17 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 55.61 to 10,757.80.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 9 to 325.71.

While the markets awaited news from the Federal Reserve meeting, a key gauge of U.S. consumer confidence from the Conference Board, a New York-based research group, crumbled in January to its lowest level in more than four years, bolstering the case for aggressive interest rate cuts to ward off a recession.

EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK), up $0.56 to $9.06, reported fourth quarter earnings that topped estimates Tuesday. The Internet service provider also outlined its expectations for revenue and earnings in 2001.

eGain Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: EGAN) jumped $0.94 to $5.84 Tuesday after the company reported a narrower-than-expected second quarter loss and said it would reach cash breakeven ahead of schedule.

The executive shakeup continued at Gateway (NYSE: GTW), down $0.13 to $21.53, following the departure of the company's chief financial officer and other key executives.

Legato Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LGTO) gained $1.88 to $18.13 after a strong fourth-quarter report that nailed earnings estimates and vaulted past revenue expectations.

Shares of Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE) surged1.5 to $18.25 after the company beat estimates for its second quarter. Analysts cheered the results.

Terra Lycos (Nasdaq: TRLY), up $0.75 to $16.38, said it bought online financial community firm Raging Bull from AltaVista Co., which is majority-owned by CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI), up $0.31 to $6.78, in an all-cash deal.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained $0.81 to $38.06, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was up $1 to $38.06, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) rose $0.35 to $30.69 and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 0.81 to 59.31.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell $1.06 to $19.06, AOL Time Warner (NYSE: AOL) fell $1.2 to $53.8 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell $1.13 to $38.75.