Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs cautious ahead of economic data

Investors were cautious ahead of a key economic report, and Thursday's economic news had little effect on techs at midday. The Nasdaq retreated 18.27 to 3,689.04 after eking out early morning gains, and the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 49.64 to 10,430.49.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index gained 2 to 490.94.

The day's economic news didn't cause much of a stir, as investors were holding out for Friday's April employment report, a key economic indicator which could determine whether the Fed will go for a 50-basis-point rate hike at its next meeting.

Productivity of U.S. workers rose at a smaller-than-expected pace in the first three months of this year while labor costs spiked higher, the Labor Department reported.

Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan did not offer any clues on the central bank's intentions in his speech to a Chicago banking conference Thursday.

The new AOL Time Warner organization chart must look like a 50-generation family tree. AOL Time Warner unveiled its massive management team Thursday. America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) was up 1 1/16 to 58 3/16, and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) was up 3/4 to 86 1/16.

Palm Inc.(Nasdaq: PALM) jumped 10 percent, or up 2 3/4 to 30 1/2 , after a leading brokerage upgraded the stock and said it has been oversold. Parent 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) rose 2 3/4 to 42 11/16.

AirGate PCS (Nasdaq: PCSA) fell 4 1/2 to 79 1/2 after it reported a hefty loss of $1.40 a share for its second quarter Thursday, coming in slightly ahead of First Call's expected loss of $1.48 a share. Sprint PCS (NYSE: PCS) was up 2 1/8 to 57 7/8.

Network Access Solutions (Nasdaq: NASC), down 13/16 to 17 3/16, reported a first quarter loss Thursday. CYBEX Computer Products (Nasdaq: CBXC), down 1 3/16 to 28 3/8; Talk.com (Nasdaq: TALK), down 1 17/32 to 9 23/32; Hauppauge Digital (Nasdaq: HAUP), down 3/16 to 12 3/16 and V-ONE (Nasdaq: VONE), up 1/4 to 4 13/16, also reported quarterly results.

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) recovered 5/8 to 11 1/4 after Wednesday's loss. Other major software companies were on the decline; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 9/16 to 70 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) lost 7/16 to 75 3/8.

Among other leading tech issues, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) fell 1 3/8 to 47 15/16, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) dropped 5/16 to 118 3/4, and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) shed 9/16 to 65 1/2.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose 1 7/16 to 55 9/16 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) gained 2 15/16 to 125.