Midday stock check: Yahoo takes big hit 

Though the market dropped sharply at times on Wednesday, Mountain View's Verisign (VRSN)  was up slightly, with gains of more than 2.4 percent. Verisign launched a new multi-screen platform for digital content on Monday.

Few Bay Area stocks fared nearly so well, with Yahoo (YHOO) taking the biggest hit. The Sunnyvale company was down more than 6 percent in midafternoon trading. Yahoo has been in the headlines after being berated by House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, for giving up the identity of dissident journalist Shi Tao.

The other search engine giant, Google (GOOG), reached a high of $747 per share. 

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (JAVA) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) were traded the most heavily, hitting volumes of more than 77 million and 72 million, respectively. Cisco is expected to report higher revenue, according to MarketWatch, although analysts worry that a weak corporate market in North America could hamper the company's growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped by as much as 319 points and Nasdaq was down 65 points in midafternoon, as the S&P 500 Index fell more than 20 points.

Also in the news, Santa Clara-based Agilent Technologies Inc. (A) has agreed to acquire Menlo Park-based Velocity11 for an undisclosed amount, according to CNNMoney.

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