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AskJeeves, PeopleSoft Weigh On Techs

AskJeeves and PeopleSoft gave jittery investors another reason to sell tech stocks on Wednesday.

AskJeeves beat earnings and revenue estimates with 24-cent earnings and $60.3 million revenues, but the stock tumbled 10% after the company's third-quarter guidance came in below Wall Street estimates. AskJeeves said it expects to earn 24 cents in the third quarter on revenues of $74 million, but analysts were looking for 27-cent earnings and $76.8 million sales.

PeopleSoft missed estimates by a penny with 14-cent earnings, and revenues of $647.3 million came in under $668.8 million forecasts. License revenues of $130.1 million were also a little shy of expectations. The company blamed the miss on fallout from Oracle's takeover attempt and court battle, but analysts believe the company has also been hit by a general slowdown in enterprise software sales.

The stock managed to finish the day with a gain, though, as it rode a late-day recovery in the stock market, as investors shook off worries about rising oil prices and weak durable goods orders to send the broader market into positive territory. Concerns about a possible chip glut also weighed on the tech sector.

The Nasdaq lost 10 to 1858, the S&P 500 gained fractionally to 1095, and the Dow rose 31 to 10,117. Volume declined to 1.55 billion shares on the NYSE, but rose to 1.85 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers held a slight edge on the NYSE, but decliners led 18-11 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 54% on the NYSE, and 67% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 31-87 on the NYSE, and 29-170 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, JDS Uniphase beat revenue estimates, and EDS met estimates. InfoSpace beat estimates and raised guidance. Business Objects warned and announced the departure of its COO. Symbol Tech beat forecasts. Macromedia met estimates, and RealNetworks beat.

During the day, investors' responses to earnings reports once again ran the gamut.

Avaya , McAfee , Websense , Cree , Kronos , Sina.com , Microstrategy , National Instruments , Zoran and 8X8 all gained on their earnings reports.

Veritas , Monster , Akamai , LSI , UTStarcom , iPass , Nice Systems , AsiaInfo , BlueNile , eBookers , CSG , Euronet and SGI fell on their results.