Greenspan Hints Of More Rate Cuts

Comments by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan that economic growth was “close to zero” raised traders’ hopes for a 50-basis point rate cut next week. Blue chip stocks rose on the news, but tech stocks slipped on cautionary comments from Corning.

The ISDEX http://www.wsrn.com/apps/ISDEX/ fell 14 to 439, and the Nasdaq lost 52 to 2806. The S&P 500 was unchanged at 1364, and the Dow surged 118 to 10,765. Volume declined to 565 million shares on the NYSE, and 1.1 billion on the Nasdaq. The Federal Reserve meets next Tuesday and Wednesday. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar at http://www.wsrn.com/apps/earnings/internet.xpl and reported earnings at http://www.wsrn.com/apps/earnings/ireported.xpl. For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site at http://www.afterhourstrading.com.

Tonight is the heaviest night of the quarter for earnings reports, headed by JDS Uniphase , BroadVision , and Qualcomm .

Corning fell 12 3/8 to 57 3/4 after blowing away estimates by 6 cents with 34-cent earnings, but issuing cautious forward guidance. Akamai fell 4 3/16 to 31 3/16 despite beating estimates by 7 cents with a 61-cent loss. VeriSign lost 6 3/4 to 74 3/4 despite beating estimates by a dime with 21-cent earnings and raising forward guidance. Exodus declined 3 13/16 to 24 3/8 after beating estimates by 3 cents with a 13-cent loss, but guiding estimates lower because of its acquisition of Global Center.

E*Trade slipped 1/32 to 13 15/16 after 2-cent earnings beat estimates by a penny. Kana plunged 2 1/2 to 7 after missing estimates by 17 cents with a 37-cent loss.

Click Commerce soared 5 3/16 to 29 1/2 after beating estimates by a nickel with a 2-cent loss and saying it expects to achieve full-year profitability. Juno rose 9/32 to 3 7/8 after beating estimates by 23 cents with a 29-cent loss.

Newport plunged 20 5/8 to 87 13/16 after beating estimates by 3 cents with 36-cent earnings, but predicting flat sales for the first quarter. Foundry rose 1 13/16 to 22 3/4 after beating estimates by 5 cents with 17-cent earnings.

Veritas fell 7 7/8 to 96 3/16 despite beating estimates by 2 cents with 19-cent earnings. NetObjects slipped 3/32 to 1 1/8 after topping estimates by 11 cents with a 27-cent loss. Virata rose 2 1/8 to 16 11/16 despite missing by a penny with 1-cent earnings. NextCard rose 1/8 to 9 13/16 after beating by a penny with a 37-cent loss.

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 finally broke out of its rising channel today (first chart) and would appear to be starting its overdue correction. The 2650-2750 area could provide some support, but we’d like to see the index fill the gap at 2618.55 to remove that downside lure (the corresponding gap in the Nasdaq 100 is 2470.72). The maximum downside expected is about 2500, the lower channel boundary (black line) in that chart.

The ISDEX is also breaking down after hitting our upside target of 460 yesterday. Maximum downside expected on the index is 388, quite a pullback that would fill the index’s gap, but a strong support.

The Nasdaq 100 is comfortably above its September downtrend line, as is the S&P 100. Those indexes are the closest to those lines, so we’ll monitor them closely.

The S&P 500 has once again moved out of its smaller rising channel (the gray lines), but is finding support on the blue line at 1350. Maximum expected downside would be that lower black channel line at 1300.

The Dow is back in favor with investors, but once again we need to stress that this kind of sector rotation is very unhealthy and remains the one point that favors the bears. Hopefully another rate cut next week will bring the indexes into alignment. We expect that broken downtrend line at about 10,600 to hold, but 10,500 has also been strong support. Critical support is 10,300 on the Dow, and a close above 11,007 would be bullish, particularly if the Dow Transports can get back above 3000 and stay there. The Trannies are just below that mark today.

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