Inflation Fears Deflate Tech Stocks, Too

AOL and CMGI were each off 4%.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Technology stocks were suffering alongside the rest of the market on news of a larger-than-expected increase in the consumer price index, but the downside has been limited as optimism continues to reign.

Internet investors can console themselves by viewing the latest losses as a minor setback in what's been a solid run-up. Nonetheless, there were some significant pullbacks: Online giant

America Online

(AOL)

was down 5 13/16, or 4%, at 126 13/16, and Net investor

CMGI

(CMGI)

was off 9 1/16, or 4%, to 229.

Internet stocks in the news included

@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

, which set a deal with

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

to deploy broadband Internet services. @Home said the companies will incorporate the Microsoft Windows NT operating system into its network serving @Home Solutions markets. Financial terms weren't disclosed. @Home was one of the few Internet stocks trading higher, up 4 1/4, or 3%, at 153 9/16. Microsoft was off 1 1/2, or 2%, at 77 5/8.

Lost in the inflationary chaos was

Oracle's

(ORCL) - Get Report

meeting Thursday with analysts. The mood going into the meeting was

dour, and there was talk that the company could warn about its quarterly earnings. But the tone following the meeting generally was upbeat, and Oracle was up 5/8, or 3%, at 23 5/8.

Goldman Sachs

analyst Rick Sherlund said Oracle had "cautious comments about earnings, but bullish comments" regarding its position for the future "as an enabler of Internet infrastructure and e-business solutions." Goldman cut its earnings estimate for Oracle's fiscal fourth quarter to 32 cents from 33 cents and its target for fiscal 2000 to 95 cents from $1.05. The firm maintained its outperform rating on the stock.

The Inside Wall Street column in this week's

Business Week

had positive things to say about

ACTV

(IATV)

,

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

and

3Com

(COMS)

.

The column says ACTV could attract more interest because of its e-commerce and interactive television technology. Shares were up 1 1/8, or 7%, at 17 1/16.

Wells Fargo, not normally an Internet play, receives mention because of its Internet operations. A money manager quoted in the article says Wells has more online bankers than any other bank, including stand-alone Internet banks. But, despite this acclaim, shares of Wells Fargo were lately down 1, or 2%, at 42 3/8, likely the result of interest-rate fears.

3Com is mentioned as a potential takeover target -- certainly not fresh news, and this is anything but a scoop for the column's author, Gene Marcial. The column quotes Mike Murphy, editor of the

California Technology Stock Letter

, as saying 3Com will be taken over at 40 to 50 a share by year-end or sooner. But Murphy has been touting 3Com as a takeover target for some time. In a Jan. 12 article in the

Los Angeles Times

, Murphy was quoted as saying he expected

Lucent

(LU)

to make a bid for 3Com. 3Com was up 2 1/8, or 8%, at 28 11/16.