Earnings Worries Prompt Net Selloff

Internet stocks were continuing to fall in midday trading Wednesday as investors were expressing their disappointment over the latest wave of earnings news from technology issues. The selling came despite better-than-expected results from several players.

At 12:30 p.m. Eastern, internet.com’s Internet Stock Index had fallen 20.82 or 2.8 percent, to 721.48, the Nasdaq Composite had lost 103.56 to 3,681.89 and the Dow Jones industrial average was off 193.91 to 10,537.21.

Losers included Newbridge Networks (NN), off 2-5/16 to 35-11/16. The network equipment maker expects to beat estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter. The company predicted pro-forma earnings will range from 20 to 25 cents, much higher than the 14 cents analysts have forecast.

Webmethods Inc. (WEBM) had plunged 15-1/2 to 98-1/4. The maker of Internet integration software reported a fiscal fourth-quarter pro-forma loss of 21 cents a share, 6 cents better than expected.

TMP Worldwide (TMPW) had lost 2-3/4 to 70-1/2. The operator of the Monster.com online job site Wednesday posted first-quarter earnings of 15 cents a share, 3 cents better than expected.

Stocks in positive territory included Aether Systems Inc. (AETH), up 8-1/4 to 145-1/4. The maker of software which links handhelds to the Internet, announced a pact with Visa USA. The companies will develop bill payment systems capable of running on pagers, cell phones and wireless devices.

CAIS Internet (CAIS) had gained 2-1/4 to 19. The company Wednesday sealed a deal with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to develop a co-branded portal that will distribute content over CAIS’ broadband network.

Global Crossing Ltd. (GBLX) was up 1-7/8 to 34-1/2. The builder of fiber optic networks Wednesday reported a first-quarter loss of 39 cents a share, 4 cents better than expected. The company also expects 2000 revenues to be about $5.7 billion, driven by
strong growth in sales of data services.

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