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Tech Industry

Markets Midday: Techs surge

Technology stocks surged at midday Tuesday as bellwethers and small caps enjoyed strong gains. The Nasdaq rose 83.66 to 4,661.51, and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 49.33 to 10,087.98.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 7 to 619.

Among stocks in the news, 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) was up 8 7/8 to 87 15/16, or 11 percent, ahead of the Palm Inc. initial public offering. 3Com plans to distribute shares of Palm about six months after the IPO. In advance, investors were flocking to 3Com as a Palm proxy. Palm's price range skyrocketed ahead of the IPO, scheduled for Thursday. Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained 1 7/8 to 132 7/16.

America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) pledged Tuesday to open their cable lines to other Internet service providers in a move that could help gain regulatory approval for their planned merger. Wall Street wasn't impressed as AOL slipped 1/2 to 60 1/8 and Time Warner fell 1/4 to 86 7/16.

AOL Time Warner rivals AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), up 1 15/16 to 46 15/16, and Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), up 5/8 to 24, had modest gains. Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 3 5/8 to 158 5/16.

Internet incubator Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE) jumped 10 percent, or 15 7/16 to 159 5/16 after the company said it will split its stock and offer another 10 million shares to the public. The company also named Gerald Blitstein chief financial officer. CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) gained 2 3/8 to 118 3/4 and Internet Capital Group (Nasdaq: ICGE) added 3 13/16 to 100 3/4.

Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS) is entering the free access market, announcing a new dial-up service Monday. The new service uses technology from Inc., a CMGI-owned firm. 1stUp is also providing the technology behind AltaVista's free Internet access program, which launched in August and had gathered more than one million subscribers by December. Lycos gained 1 5/8 to 59 7/8.

Niku Corp. (Nasdaq: NIKU) made a big splash with its IPO. The company traded up 44 to 68, good for a gain of 168 percent. Internet advertising firm Avenue A (Nasdaq: AVEA) priced its IPO at $24 a share, and marketing software company net.Genesis (Nasdaq: NTGX) priced at $18. Neither traded at midday.

Meanwhile, 24/7 Media (Nasdaq: TFSM) said it will buy, a provider of permission- based e-mail marketing, for about $490 million. 24/7 slipped 3 to 46 1/2 and Exactis (Nasdaq: XACT) was up 7 9/16 to 26 1/4, good for a gain of 40 percent.

Small cap issues were faring well also. Affinity Technology (Nasdaq: AFFI) was up 1 5/16 to 2 25/32, or 90 percent, after the received a technology patent. Imaging Technology (Nasdaq: ITEC) was up 21/32 to 2 25/32 after unveiling Internet appliance technology. Both stocks were among the most actives on Nasdaq.

Other Nasdaq movers included: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), off 2 3/64 to 89 33/64; E*Trade (Nasdaq: EGRP), up 1 3/4 to 24 5/8, and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), up 3 7/8 to 72 1/2.