Earnings Jitters Remain

The ISDEX dropped 34 to 620, or more than 5%, and the Nasdaq fell 60 to 3229. The S&P 500 was down 17 to 1357, and the Dow lost 129 to 10,109. Volume rose to 505 million shares on the NYSE and 900 million on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by 18 to 8 on the NYSE and 25 to 11 on the Nasdaq. There are a lot of big earnings reports this week, including Intel and IBM tonight, and Microsoft and Sun Microsystems tomorrow. The Consumer Price Index tomorrow is the big economic report for the week. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site.

America Online dropped 6 3/4 to 45 7/8 after Lehman Brothers analyst Holly Becker expressed cautious comments ahead of tomorrow’s earnings report. Becker later said the selling was overdone, but given Becker’s prescient call on Yahoo around 130 some time ago, investors were in a listening mood. Becker also wasn’t finished with Yahoo , issuing more negative comments sent that stock lower by 6 to 49 1/4.

BroadVision surged 3 to 26 7/8 on news that it will be added to the S&P 500. Juniper Networks , which had been considered the favorite to replace PaineWebber, lost 13 3/4 to 229 1/4.

Interwoven slipped 1 1/4 to 102 1/2 after trading as high as 117 on better than expected earnings, a 2-for-1 stock split, and an alliance with Hewlett-Packard. Internet Security Systems fared better, gaining 3 7/8 to 84 3/8 after beating estimates by a penny with 11-cent earnings.

WebTrends gained 1 5/32 to 23 31/32 after beating estimates by a penny with 9-cent earnings. Marimba dropped 15/16 to 5 3/16 after mssing estimates by a penny. Cobalt slipped 7/16 to 55 3/4 after beating estimates by a nickel with a 1-cent loss. LifeMinders.com lost 1 1/16 to 10 3/8 after beating estimates.

Interactive Pictures dropped 2 3/4 to 1 1/2 after announcing a better-than-expected loss but lower-than-expected revenues. FVC.com dropped 3/4 to 2 on an earnings warning.

iPrint.com fell 29/32 to 2 5/32 on a better than expected loss. McAfee.com lost 3 3/8 to 7 3/8 after beating estimates but lowering forward guidance. FreeShop.com added 1/16 to 2 1/8 after beating estimates. Extensity slipped 5/16 to 13 7/8 on a better than expected loss.

B2B leaders were weak ahead of earnings reports. Ariba , which reports tomorrow, lost 4 5/8 to 126 3/4, Commerce One , which reports Thursday, dropped 3 5/8 to 65, i2 Technologies , which reports tonight, lost 5 1/16 to 179, and PurchasePro , which also reports tonight, gave back 3 to 41 3/4.

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A sell-off on rising volume is not what we want to see this early in the rally. But there are still some hopeful signs. The Nasdaq may be forming an inverse head and shoulders in the 60-minute chart, as long as it can stay above 3200. A break above 3400 would take out both the neckline of that pattern and the downtrend line, and give the index room to as high as 3800. Major resistance could be found at 3500, around the August 3521 bottom and the 38% Fibonacci level from the 4259 to 3054 decline (3511). To the downside, the double bottom around 3050 (3042 and 3054) is critical support. Absolutely critical.

The S&P 500 is holding above its 1994 logarithmic trendline at about 1350, a very important level. The index found support last week at 1329, just above its Februrary bottom at 1325. A close below 1323, or 2% below the 1994 trendline, would be a big negative. The S&P may also be forming inverse head and shoulders in the 60-minute chart. A break above 1390 could lead to a 50-point gain in the S&P.

The ISDEX is back below its September downtrend line at about 650. Next support is 600, and next resistance after 650 is 700. The Dow may be breaking down out of a bear flag, with potential downside to as low as 9500-9900. Another bounce at 10,000 is possible before then. To the upside, the index needs to get above 10,400 to have any room to run.

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