Intel Can’t Boost Nasdaq Above 2K

The Nasdaq failed once again Tuesday to clear the 2000 level despite optimism ahead of Intel’s mid-quarter update on Thursday.

The Nasdaq hit a new yearly high before being turned back at 1996, the second time in a month the index was repelled just short of that mark.

Intel opened higher on optimism ahead of its mid-quarter update, but it too ended the day in the red.

UBS said it believes Intel will raise its revenue guidance to the top of the previous $8.1-8.7 billion range, and raise margin guidance too. Also helping the Nasdaq’s run at 2000 were comments from Dell that corporate spending is picking up.

But none of that was enough to convince investors that the Nasdaq belongs above the 2000 level just yet, as reports of a large short position in the QQQ, the Nasdaq 100 tracking stock, emboldened sellers.

The Nasdaq lost 9 to 1980, the S&P 500 fell 3 to 1066, and the Dow lost 45 to 9853. Volume rose to 1.38 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 1.82 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a few issues on the NYSE, and 16-15 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 57% on the NYSE, and 61% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 528-4 on the NYSE, and 411-10 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Xilinx raised guidance, and ADC telecom beat estimates.

During the day, McData plunged 12% on a warning, as pricing pressure for Fibre Channel switches continues to take its toll. Veritas fell 5% on a cautious outlook.

Overstock soared 24% on reports of strong holiday sales.

3Com jumped 5% on a deal with EDS .

VoIP stocks were strong on an FCC decision to take a hands-off approach to the industry. InterNap , , VocalTec and ITXC posted strong gains.

IXOS rose 1% as its merger with Open Text cleared a hurdle.

AskJeeves rose 5% on an upgrade.

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