dcsimg
RealTime IT News

Fed Provides No Fizz for Markets

Investors hoping for a stock market bounce from a Federal Reserve interest rate cut had to be disappointed Tuesday. The markets, after staying up for most of the day, ended up flat despite the Fed's cut of 50 basis points.

The central bank's fifth reduction this year was generally anticipated by traders. So was the Alan Greenspan gang announcement that further cuts can be expected in light of continuing low levels of capital spending and the attendant risk of slow economic growth. Ultimately, that anticipation resulted in late-day trader anticlimax, negating earlier market gains.

So how flat was the Dow Jones? Flatter than a Marine recruit's buzz cut. It lost 4.36 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 10872.97.

The Nasdaq? Flatter than a Bonneville race track. It gained 3.79 points, or 0.18 percent, to finish at 2085.71. (That did break a string of four straight down days.)

The S&P 500? Flatter than a 3-day-old can of Pepsi. It gained 0.51 points, or 0.04 percent, closing at 1249.43.

And the ISDEX? Flatter than a world map drawn by King Ferdinand's geographers. The internet.com Internet stock index was the day's big mover, closing up 3.01, or 1.23 percent, at 248.43.

Two retail giants showed mixed results after each expressed caution about prospects for the rest of the year. Wal-Mart dropped 2.35, or 4 percent, to $52 after meeting lowered first-quarter forecasts, while Home Depot rose 0.94, or 2 percent, to $50.09 after beating estimates by two cents.

On a day without many significant ups and downs, telecom equipment maker Gentek was the New York Stock Exchange's biggest percentage loser, closing down 2, or 17 percent, at $9.60. The company announced lower first quarter profits, flat revenues and plans to cut 1,300 workers, 12 percent, close several plants and discontinue some products.

E-business security software maker Baltimore Technologies dropped 0.5599, or 22 percent, to $2.01, after tripling first quarter operating losses and saying it would cut 250 jobs.

AremisSoft Corp. plunged 3.5398, or 19 percent, to $14.93. CEO Roys Poyiadijis attributed the decline to anonymous reports circulated by "unscrupulous short sellers" hoping to drive the stock price down. Volume in the business software maker was about 10 times normal at 12.6 million shares. The company reported about $103.3 million in cash at the end of the first quarter, which it said was enough to take it through the year.

Semiconductor parts maker Amtech rose 2.14, or 26 percent, to $10.35 after issuing a strong first quarter report, while a good earnings report for chip maker Xicor saw it rise 0.95, or 17 percent, to $6.52.

The day's most actively traded stocks showed modest losses: Intel , less than 1 percent to $27.20; Sun Microsystems less than 4 percent to $17.45, Oracle less than 1 percent to $15.93, JDS Uniphase less than 2 percent to $19.84 and Microsoft less than 1 percent to $68.27.

Cisco bucked the high-volume loser trend by posting a modest gain, up 17 cents, about 1 percent, to $18.74.