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Nasdaq Ends Worst Year Ever On A Down Note

The Nasdaq ended its worst year ever on a familiar note, down 39% on the year. The Nasdaq last had a year like this in the bear market of 1973-1974, when the index lost more than 30% in each year. It was the worst year for a major U.S. stock index since 1937.

The ISDEX http://www.wsrn.com/apps/ISDEX/ fell 21 to 361, down 58% on the year, and the Nasdaq declined 87 to 2470, the index's fourth straight losing month. The S&P 500 declined 13 to 1320, down 10% on the year, and the Dow lost 80 to 10,787, off 6% for the year. Volume rose to 1.03 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.5 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a few issues on the NYSE, but surprisingly, breadth was positive by 21 to 20 on the Nasdaq. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar at http://www.wsrn.com/apps/earnings/internet.xpl and reported earnings at http://www.wsrn.com/apps/earnings/ireported.xpl. For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site at http://www.afterhourstrading.com.

Fashionmall.com surged 1 17/32 to 4 1/8 on a $49 million buyout offer by major shareholder GenesisIntermedia.com.

Openwave slipped 1 3/16 to 47 5/8 after settling a dispute with Geoworks , which soared 1 17/32 to 2 15/16.

Inktomi , down 2 1/16 to 18, and CacheFlow , off 4 1/16 to 17, continued to fall on slowdown concerns. Bear Stearns downgraded both stocks.

Priceline.com , one of the biggest losers of the great Internet bear market of 2000, was unchanged at 1 5/16 on news that founder, vice chairman and largest shareholder Jay Walker resigned to focus on his intellectual property at Walker Digital, the incubator that gave birth to Priceline. The stock is almost 99% off its all-time high of 104 1/4.

Earnings warnings continued to mount. 24/7 Media , down 5/32 to 17/32, NetSpeak , off 1 1/2 to 1 9/16, Net Perceptions , up 1/32 to 2 3/32, and Breakaway Solutions , down 1/8 to 7/8, all warned.

Osicom soared 3 13/16 to 16 1/16, but 3 points off its high, on speculation that Sycamore may buy the company's Sorrento Networks.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: We are now including charts in the technical market commentary. If you can't get the charts via the e-mail newsletter version, try this link: http://www.afterhourstrading.com/column.html

Well, based on 30 years of trading data, the Nasdaq had about a 75% chance of being up today and Tuesday. So much for playing the odds. Probably a fitting way to end the year. Now we get to watch the January indicator, which basically says that as the first five days and the month of January go, so does the year. It certainly worked this year, when the Nasdaq ended both the first five days and the month down.

January may have some tough going before it can turn up: we really don't like what we see in the Nasdaq and S&P indexes right now. The Nasdaq broke down out of a rising wedge or bear pennant today (see first chart). If it's a bear pennant, how low could the index be headed? If we measure the "pole" from the previous consolidation at 2600, we could be headed for a retest of the lows at 2300. If we measure from the previous large consolidation at 3000, the picture looks much worse, setting up a potential downside target of 1900-2000. We'll pick the rosier scenario, given the strong support of the 1990 trendline at 2300 on the Nasdaq. There are gaps to be filled at 2224 and 2340 on the Nasdaq 100 and the Nasdaq, 1275 and 668 on the S&P