Midday Report: Nasdaq Higher as Techs Continue Rally

Technology stocks extended Thursday’s late-dayrally, pushing the Nasdaq Composite Index higher by midday Friday.

The tech-heavy index was up 18.95 at 1,916.65 in early-afternoon trading,with bellwethers Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW)and Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) all registering strong gains, as investorsdeemed the stocks to be bargains at current levels.

However, most stocks remain well below their 52-week highs, and the Nasdaq itself isstill far below its peak. The Federal Reserve’s latest rate cut, deliveredearlier this week, disappointed many investors who had hoped for a stronger move tospur the weak economy.

Motorola Gains on Layoffs

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) was up 5 U.S. cents at $15.73 after announcingplans for 4,000 more layoffs. The semiconductor maker said the latest cuts will comefrom its networks business, and will bring the total number of plannedreductions to 22,000 since December.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) was down 75 U.S. cents to $19 in midday trading, afteranalysts at SG Cowen and First Union Securities lowered estimates for themaker of networking equipment’s results for the quarter ending in April.

The market for Cisco’s products is not likely to pick upanytime soon, according to the analysts. First Union said that “continued negative news flow in theindustry” prompted their move.

Software Gains

Better-than-expected results from Tibco Software (Nasdaq: TIBX) and Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) bolstered shares of those companies.

Red Hat, which makes software for the Linux operating system,broke even before charges in the latest fiscal quarter, while Tibco reported a smaller loss than analysts had predicted.

Dow, S&P Join in Rally

The Nasdaq advance was part of a broader market rally, with the Dow JonesIndustrial Average managing to maintain a slim gain.

At midday, the Dow wasup 27.33 at 9,416.81, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was ahead11.21 at 1,128.79.

E-Commerce Jump

The E-Commerce TimesIndex was 3.5 percent higher at midday, thanks to solid gains inDrugstore.com (Nasdaq: DSCM), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Barnesandnoble.com(Nasdaq:BNBN), among others.

Webvan (Nasdaq: WBVN), Travelocity (Nasdaq:TVLY) and computer e-tailer Egghead (Nasdaq: EGGS) were lower.

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