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Techs, Nets Weak Ahead of GDP Report

Blue chip stocks rose ahead of Friday's all-important first quarter GDP report, but technology stocks were weak amid more concerns about telecom equipment spending.

The ISDEX http://www.wsrn.com/apps/ISDEX/ slipped 2 to 239, and the Nasdaq fell 24 to 2034. The S&P 500 added 5 to 1234, and the Dow rose 67 to 10,692. Volume rose to 1.49 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.0 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 19 to 11 on the NYSE, and 20 to 17 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.

After the close, VeriSign rose on blow-out earnings of 23 cents a share, 10 cents a head of estimates. Corning beat estimates by a penny with 29-cent earnings, but lowered forward estimates. Art Technology and Exodus also beat estimates. VA Linux issued an earnings warning.

barnesandnoble.com and Storage Technology topped estimates, while VerticalNet , NetIQ , Vignette and Corvis reported in-line results.

During the day, PurchasePro lost .99 to 3.06 after missing estimates by 10 cents with a 2-cent loss, ending a two-day odyssey in which the company warned and then delayed its earnings report. The company blamed the miss on deferral of revenues associated with the sale of several marketplaces.

Homestore soared 5.27 to 34 after beating estimates and raising forward guidance. Qualcomm fell 4.69 to 58.29 after meeting estimates of 29 cents a share but lowering forward estimates.

PeopleSoft surged 6.41 to 36.34 on better than expected results, and Foundry Networks rose 1.87 to 12.60 on in-line results.

Telecom equipment stocks got battered again on capital expenditure concerns. Bernstein analyst Paul Segawa sees North American capex spending falling 20% in 2001 and another 5% in 2002. He sees Nortel as the most exposed in the sector, Cisco turning around in 2002 on improved enterprise spending, and he likes Lucent as a value play. Segawa was more positive on the wireless outlook, preferring Nokia in that space. Ciena , off 5.39 to 52.15, and Juniper , down 4.86 to 53, dropped on the news.

Intel , off .19 to 28.84, lost ground despite a positive analyst meeting.

Juno Online rose .39 to 1.21 on news of a deal with AOL Time Warner to provide high-speed access over AOL's cable lines. Webvan lost .10 to .14 on news of a reverse stock split and restructuring plan.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: We include 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

The market continues to have an undercurrent of weakness to it that indicates it could be due for a pullback. The Dow and S&P 500 (first and second charts) are both testing the underside of their broken uptrends, while the Nasdaq (third chart) hasn't even come close to touching its broken uptrend line. The last two trading days of the month and first day of the new month tend to be positive ones for the market, so the market could be okay for a few days still; let's see how tomorrow morning's all-important GDP report goes. First support on the Nasdaq is 2000, the top of a breakout gap, and critical support is the 1950 level, where the index broke out recently. A move above the 2250-2300 area would be bullish, but a failure below that level would be bearish. The S&P 500 has a breakout gap at 1200, and critical support is 1182-1184. The 1250 area has been tough resistance, and capped the S&P's advance again today. A move above 1300 would be bullish, but a failure below that level would be bearish. The Dow has yet to clear the important 10,859 level, where its steep sell-off began, another potential negative. The 10,600 level is important support, then 10,450. The Dow Transports finally had a good day today, but the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which tends to lead the Nasdaq, fell 3.6% today.

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