Big Blue Weighs On Stocks

Rumors that IBM may warn or miss estimates when it reports earnings next week weighed on stocks on Thursday.

The ISDEX slipped 1 to 197, and the Nasdaq rose 2 to 2047. The S&P 500 added 1 to 1156, and the Dow lost 26 to 10,067. Volume declined to 1.29 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.76 billion on the Nasdaq. Breadth was even on the NYSE and Nasdaq.

After the close, Rambus and Rational topped estimates, but Cree missed its numbers.

During the day, IBM fell 2.3% on concerns that it may miss revenue estimates and guide forward results lower when it reports next Thursday. The company is expected to earn $1.32 a share on $23.72 billion in revenue.

Cisco eeked out a gain on optimism that the company will meet its numbers.

VeriSign continued to gain after saying it will make its quarter.

Brocade and RF Micro Devices rose on positive comments and outlooks.

Apple slipped on negative comments from Merrill Lynch.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: To see the charts in the text email newsletter, click on the story link at the top of the newsletter.

No sign of a breakdown today after yesterday’s reversal in the indexes. The S&P 500 (first chart) held a strong lower trendline at 1150, but failed to get back above its September 2000 downtrend line at 1160. That gives market watchers two very clear levels to keep an eye on for tomorrow. The big resistance remains the S&P 100 (second chart), which has been unable to take out critical 600 resistance after five attempts. The Nasdaq (third chart) has held the 2021-2026 area nicely in the last few days. Below that, 2000-2010 is very important support. 2056-2060 is first resistance, today’s high and a lower trendline that the index closed right on today, and 2080-2100 is tough resistance. The relatively flat correction on the Nasdaq gives that index a chance to pop higher. The Dow (fourth chart) took out a lower trendline today. Support is 10,032, 10,000 and 9950, and first resistance is 10,099-10,102. One negative today is that the put-call ratio fell below 0.60, showing short-term complacency.

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