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Tech Industry

MARKET MIDDAY: Amazon sparks tech rally

    Good news in the bond market helped Amazon lead techs into a rally at midday Thursday, as investors focused on the promise of profits ahead. The Nasdaq gained 66.53 to 4140.49, while the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 63.60 to 10,939.60.

    The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 11 to 572.92.

    The long-bond yield plunged to near 6 percent early Thursday, its lowest level in more than two months, sending rate-sensitive financial stocks soaring on Wall Street.

    In other economic news, orders at U.S. factories rose at the fastest pace in seven years this December, according to data in a Commerce Department report. Orders at U.S. factories jumped 3.3 percent, well above the 0.6 percent gain economists had expected.

    At least one analyst was "neutral" on Amazon.com as Wall Street continued its love affair with the online retailer Thursday, boosting its stock 18 percent, or 12 1/2 to 81 15/16 after the company said it would curb losses. Most of Wall Street was bullish on the stock.

    Competitor barnesandnoble.com (Nasdaq: BNBN) was up 9/16 to 11 7/8 ahead of its quarterly report, slated for after the bell. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 14 7/8 to 342 7/8 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 1 1/4 to 59 5/8.

    A couple of IPOs were flying on the giddy markets; part of the Sprint PCS Group (NYSE: PCS) network, Alamosa (Proposed ticker: APCS) jumped 13 1/2 to 30 1/2, or 79 percent in its debut.

    Centra Software Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRA) priced its 5 million shares at $14 each, well above its estimated range of $8-$10 a share, but had yet to open.

    Digex (Nasdaq: DIGX) rose 9 7/16 to 93 1/4, eBookers.com (Nasdaq: EBKR) rose 2 3/4 to 24 1/2, and ION Networks (Nasdaq: IONN) rose 1 9/16 to 35 1/4 after topping First Call estimates. Baan (Nasdaq: BAANF) rose 1/16 to 7 1/16 after it reported a massive loss.

    Storage Technology Corp. (NYSE: STK), a struggling maker of data storage equipment, fell 2 3/4 to 12 15/16 after it said it expected to post a fourth-quarter loss excluding restructuring charges, plans to cut additional jobs and that its chairman and chief executive had resigned.

    VA Linux (Nasdaq: LNUX) lost 6 7/8 to 130 after it said it will purchase Andover.net (Nasdaq: ANDN), up 10 11/16 to 46 11/16, a network of Linux community sites, in a stock and cash deal to become the Yahoo! for the open source crowd.

    Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose 15/16 to 101 3/4. Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) rose 9/16 to 38 11/16 and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) was even at 27 1/2. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) rose 2 11/16 to 102 11/16.