iXL Adds To Internet Consultants’ Woes

iXL Enterprises issued an earnings warning after the close on Friday, adding more misery to a sector that sold off sharply during the day on an earnings warning from Viant. The broader market rose on the latest signs that the economy is slowing.

The ISDEX slipped 1 to 836. But the Nasdaq gained 27 to 4234, the S&P 500 added 3 to 1520, and the Dow climbed 23 to 11,238. Volume declined to 770 million shares on the NYSE and 1.4 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 16 to 11 on the NYSE and 22 to 17 on the Nasdaq. Stocks were buoyed by a weaker-than-expected August jobs report, with unemployment rising to 4.1%, and a National Association of Purchasing Management survey that showed contraction for the first time since January 1999. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our new after hours trading site.

Viant fell 5 11/16 to 8 3/16 after warning that third-quarter earnings will come in lower than expected. The company expects to post a loss for the quarter, while analysts were expecting an 8-cent profit. Revenue will fall 12-15% sequentially. CS First Boston was out in front, downgrading the sector a few days ago, but analysts piled on today, sending the whole sector lower. Scient lost 5 1/16 to 22, Sapient lost 7 1/2 to 45, Breakaway fell 2 1/8 to 12 3/4, Proxicom lost 4 7/16 to 19 3/4, Diamond Technology Partners dropped 8 to 55 7/8, and Tanning Technology lost 2 11/32 to 13 31/32. Janney Montgomery Scott called the sell-off in the group overdone, and called Diamond Technology Partners its top pick in the group and also made favorable comments about Breakaway.

But iXL compounded the sector’s woes after the close, warning that it would report a loss instead of a 4-cent profit, and that revenues would fall 15-20% sequentially. Company President William Nussey resigned. The stock lost 1 3/16 to 8 3/8 in regular trading, and fell as low as 6 after hours.

Yahoo fell 6 7/8 to 114 5/8 on a front-page Wall Street Journal story on the tough Internet advertising environment. Yahoo was said to be offering advertisers more favorable terms. DoubleClick fell 1 1/2 to 39 3/16.

AskJeeves rose 1 1/8 to 31 5/8 on news that it will launch a Spanish-language venture with Univision.

Netopia fell 9 1/2 to 27 1/8 on a Kaufman Brothers downgrade from Strong Buy to Buy.

Register.com lost 1 1/2 to 12 1/2 on a Banc of America downgrade from Strong Buy to Buy.

Bid.com gained 21/32 to 2 13/16 because of its $23 million stake in Quack.com, which is being acquired by America Online . For more on the acquisition, click here.

B2B stocks again showed strength. i2 gained 10 1/16 to 179 1/4, Ariba bolted 9 1/8 to 166 1/2, and Commerce One tacked on 3 7/32 to 65 3/4.

Some technical comments on the market: The Nasdaq has risen 6% since barely meeting its minimum requirement for a follow-through day on Aug. 17. That may not be much compared to the index’s gains in recent years, but it’s half an average year in the stock market. Not bad for 10 trading days. Now the tough part begins. The Nasdaq is just below its July peak (4289) and its 62% retracement level (4337). Once a 62% Fibonacci level is crossed, the move becomes a trend in its own right, so it’s a very important number. If the index can clear those lev

els, it could easily go to 4475, the secondary peak in April. There’s an interesting convergence at that point: the Nasdaq’s highest possible downtrend line (across the 5132 and 5070 peaks) meets the upper line of the index’s rising channel at about 4500 in roughly 8 trading days. That said, we have an awful lot of resistance right here: A purer drawing of the bearish rising wedge boundaries, using 150-period hourly charts instead of 120-period charts, would set the upper boundaries for the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 just above today’s highs, at roughly 4300 and 4200, respectively. To the downside, the lower wedge boundaries are at about 4100 on the Nasdaq and 3970 on the Nasdaq 100.

The ability of the major indexes to negate rising wedges is a positive, but the breakouts or break downs haven’t resulted in very convincing moves on the blue chip indexes just yet. So what happens when we redraw the boundaries to encompass the news peaks and valleys? We still get a rising wedge on the S&P 500, but we get something more positive on the Dow and the S&P 100: parallel uptrend boundary lines. However, the Dow continues to struggle with its April secondary high of 11,287, and the S&P 500 continues to get nervous around its all-time closing high of 1527, getting as high as 1530 today before pulling back. To the downside, 1505 on the S&P 500 (new lower wedge boundary) and 11,100 on the Dow are important support.

The ISDEX turned back this morning at 846, right at its 50% retracement level and its upper rising wedge boundary. The index is right at the apex of the wedge, so it could be ready to correct soon. To the downside, we want to stay above 810 on the ISDEX, so the Nets are really wound up tight here. Have a good holiday weekend.

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