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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs retreat ahead of economic news

    Techs decided to take a breather at midday Tuesday, and hold back on gains ahead of upcoming economic news and a speech from Fed Chief Alan Greenspan, which could indicate the future of interest rates. The Nasdaq lost 105.37 to 4,313.18, while the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 42.19 to 10,562.03.

    The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 19 to 575.06.

    Techs were holding back ahead of the upcoming economic data which could indicate whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. The Labor Department reports January producer prices Thursday and January consumer prices Friday, both of which measure inflation.

    Greenspan will also be the center of attention Thursday when he delivers his semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony to Congress.

    Despite the turbulent condition, a few IPOs were making their way to market.

    VarsityBooks.com Inc. (Nasdaq: VSTY) rose a meager 1/2 to 10 1/2 after it priced shares at $10 for trading Tuesday, below its original price range.

    Savvis Communications (Nasdaq: SVVS), which had yet to debut, will raise a nice pile of cash with 17 million shares priced at $24 each.

    Chordiant Software, Inc (Nasdaq: CHRD) was also ready for its Tuesday debut with 4.85 million shares priced at $18.

    Compuware (Nasdaq: CPWR) was the day's surprise gainer; shares rose 3 3/4 to 24 3/16 on bullish coverage from an analyst. The company recently completed its acquisition of BlairLake.

    Earnings season continued, with broadband communications services-provider Nextlink Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NXLK) gaining 2 1/8 to 99 after it reported a net loss Tuesday of $1.57 a share in its fourth quarter. Applied Materials Inc.(Nasdaq: AMAT) was up 5/8 to 161 11/16 ahead of its report, expected after the bell.

    Ebookers.com (Nasdaq: EBKR) rose 25 percent, up 3 7/16 to 25, after it inked a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with AOL Europe, under which it will pay the company $24 million over two years.

    Tech and Net bellwethers were mostly in decline; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) lost 3 1/16 to 96 9/16, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) was down 3 33/64 to 126 63/64, and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) fell 2 7/8 to 107.

    Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 3 5/16 to 71 1/8, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) dropped 9 1/16 to 156 11/16, and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) fell 1 7/16 to 54 5/16.