Earnings Worries Again Plague Stocks

Stocks continued to have a tough time on Thursday, with earnings warnings from Motorola and National Semiconductor the latest culprit.

The ISDEX fell 5 to 451, and the Nasdaq declined 55 to 2741. The S&P 500 lost 6 to 1345, and the Dow dropped 20 to 10,645. Volume declined to 511 million shares on the NYSE and 805 million on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by 13 to 12 on the NYSE, but decliners led 21 to 13 on the Nasdaq. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site.

Ciena slipped 1 3/4 to 93 5/8 after the company’s 14-cent earnings beat estimates by a penny, but revenues missed the most optimistic forecasts. Corvis plunged 3 5/8 to 36 3/4 after Ciena won a contract from Broadwing, which accounted for 100% of Corvis’ revenues in the third quarter.

Yahoo dropped 3 19/32 to 33 29/32, another 52-week low, after WR Hambrecht downgraded the company from Buy to Neutral on advertising weakness.

It was another rough day for Internet consultants. Scient plunged 1 27/32 to 2 21/32 on an earnings warning and layoffs. Viant , down 7/32 to 4 1/32, also announced layoffs.

NorthPoint Communications , still reeling from its failed merger with Verizon, was unchanged at 13/32 after announcing a 19% workforce reduction.

Ariba gained 3 to 73 1/2 after Goldman Sachs named the company to its Recommended List and set a 12-month price target of $100.

Intraware rose 7/8 to 2 7/8 on a renewed agreement with Commerce One .

BroadVision fell 3 1/8 to 21 3/16 after CS First Boston said the company’s loss of GE Capital’s business suggests it still has architectural problems. CSFB said BroadVision was four times over budget but only half done with the project.

Ramp Networks , up 3/4 to 5 3/4, will be purchased by Nokia for $5.80 a share.

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

The Nasdaq 100 may be forming an inverted head-and-shoulders pattern here, a pretty reliable bottoming pattern, particularly if it can hold above 2645. The pattern would not be completed until the upper trendline was broken around 2900. If not, all is not lost, as it would be nice to fill the gap at 2554 and get that out of the way. Gaps also exist at 2615 on the Nasdaq and 1325 on the S&P 500. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index traded lower again today after failing to negate its recent breakdown with a 615 close.

The ISDEX may also be forming an inverted head-and-shoulders pattern, and also is holding its old support line, which is now around 435. A break above 485 would just about put in a bottom for the Nets.

The S&P 500 tested the lower line of its upchannel this morning. If it breaks that support, it could be headed for the gap at 1325.

The Dow is so far holding the 10,600-10,650 range, a source of much support and resistance lately. A break of 10,600 could indicate a retest of the 10,380 area, and a move above 10,800-10,900 would be a positive.

Special report: For a free introduction to technical chart patterns and an overview of this year’s action in the stock market, visit http://www.internetstockreport.com/guest/article/0,1785,2571_500051,00.html.

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