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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs slip

Techs shifted into neutral at midday Wednesday, despite economic news that signal the Fed's interest-rate tightening may finally be taking effect. The Nasdaq shed 31.59 to 3427.89 and the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 7.20 to 10,519.93.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 8 to 428.57.

Some economic news had a positive slant on the Fed front; new home sales fell 5.8 percent in April to an annual rate of 909,000, compared with the revised 965,000 annual rate in March, according to the Commerce Department. The Conference Board's Leading Indicators Index fell 0.1 percent in April, compared with expectations of a slight rise. Investors will be watching for any economic slowdown, which could signal an end to interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

Shares in Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) were down another 11 percent, or 8 7/8 to 67 1/2 Wednesday as news that the company's mobile phone technology will not be adopted in China sunk in.

After only a month as president and CEO of NICE Systems (Nasdaq: NICE), Moshe Ronen has decided to leave the company. Shares fell 2 3/4 to 59 3/8.

Lucent (NYSE: LU) fell 5/8 to 57 1/8 after it confirmed reports it will acquire Chromatis Networks Wednesday, announcing a stock transaction worth about $4.5 billion.

Flextronics (Nasdaq: FLEX) rose 8 to 58 1/16 after it said it will supply and manufacture components and complete units included in Motorola's (NYSE: MOT), up 4 9/16 to 101, communications products.

FatBrain (Nasdaq: FATB) was up 1 1/2 to 6 3/4 after said its first quarter sales would be strong.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 3/8 to 63 as investors awaited attorneys' reponse to the government's break-up proposal.

Among other leading tech issues: Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) lost 11/16 to 43 5/16, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was up 11/16 to 126 7/16, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) fell 3/4 to 59 1/8, Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) rose 1/4 to 80 1/4 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) was up 1/2 to 74 11/16.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 1 9/16 to 50 3/16, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 2 1/16 to 114 15/16 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) dropped 11/16 to 52 11/16.