Lycos, eBay Keep Nets Above Water

Internet and technology stocks managed small gains on Wednesday despite losses in blue chip issues. But even blue chip stocks could get a boost on Thursday after Hewlett-Packard posted blow-out earnings after the bell.

The ISDEX gained half a point to 753, and the Nasdaq added 9 to 3861. But the S&P 500 lost 4 to 1479, and the Dow dropped 58 to 11,008 on weakness in retail stocks. Volume rose to 930 million shares on the NYSE and 1.4 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 15 to 12 on the NYSE and 20 to 19 on the Nasdaq. The Consumer Price Index came in a little stronger than expected, showing a 0.2% gain, but the core was in line with estimates at 0.2%. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our new after hours trading site.

Lycos reported fourth quarter earnings of 12 cents a share, beating estimates by 4 cents, and revenues rose 89% to $87.9 million. The stock rose 3 3/32 to 61 1/32. The company expects to merge with Terra Networks in October.

Amazon.com gained 1 to 38 9/16. Merrill Lynch reiterated near-term Accumulate and long-term Buy on the company on the belief that the sector has bottomed.

eBay continued to rise after CEO Meg Whitman’s keynote address Monday night at Pacific Crest’s E.Conference, gaining 5 1/2 to 57 3/8. Whitman discussed the company’s ambition to become a global trading platform.

Virata dropped 10 1/8 to 67 3/8 on concern that the company could lose business due to the Verizon strike. Copper Mountain lost 5 7/8 to 66 7/8 on rumors that the company may lose a key Lucent contract.

Streamline.com cratered 1 3/8 to 5/8 on news that the company will need additional financing in the next few weeks to continue operations.

webMethods , up 9 17/32 to 105 15/16, and Interwoven , up 4 5/16 to 74 7/16, rose on news that the two will provide a complete solution for Fortune 100 companies to use in B2B marketplaces.

Chordiant Software gained 2 3/32 to 11 3/8 on news of a $24 million contract from Lloyds.

Kana Communications bolted 5 1/2 to 38 on news of an alliance with IBM. General Magic , up 1 1/16 to 5 15/16, announced an agreement with IBM to integrate the company’s MagicTalk platform with IBM’s DirectTalk and WebSphere Voice Server. Juno , up 1 3/16 to 6 1/8, gained on news that its free Internet access will be bundled with IBM PCs.

Internet America lost 17/64 to 3 11/16 after reporting a fourth-quarter loss of 41 cents a share, in line with estimates.

SonicWALL lost 5 3/16 to 79 13/16 after Janney Montgomery Scott said the company’s relationship with Ramp Networks may decline in coming quarters. Ramp accounts for about 5% of SonicWALL’s business.

Portal Software recouped 4 7/8 to 56 3/16. Investors have been nervous over the company’s earnings, due out tomorrow.

Some technical comments on the market: We said the Dow needed to stay above the 10,950-10,975 area to preserve the upside breakout of the diamond formation, and it did, turning up at 10,961 today. If the index can rebound strongly from that level, the breakout will look healthier than it has so far. Hewlett-Packard’s earnings may give it that chance. As we’ve noted, the initial breakout came on volume that was too low for comfort, and technical indicators on the index were overbought. This pullback is resolving some of that, but it is troubling that volume is up substantially on the downsi

de move. The index has a chance to correct that tomorrow. Resistance on the Dow is just under 11,200.

The Nasdaq turned back again this morning at its key moving averages. The 50-day moving average at 3917 provided this morning’s resistance. The 200-day is at 3940. The index appears to be stuck in a narrowing trading range, and has yet to establish firm direction either way. The Nasdaq may be forming a bearish flag pattern in the daily chart since bottoming at 3521 recently, giving the index potential for more downside, as much as 600 points. A break below 3700 would be a warning sign. The index has not had a high-volume follow-through day to confirm its recent reversal, a negative sign. Tomorrow is the final day for the Nasdaq to accomplish that. The Dow and S&P barely met the minimum requirements for follow-through days. The ISDEX also may be forming a bearish flag pattern here, signaling potential further downside on that index. Key resistance is now around 800, the lower boundary of a broken bearish rising wedge. Support on the ISDEX is at 693-700, 650 and 600; a break below 700 would just about break the bearish flag pattern. The S&P continues to struggle with 1480-1490 resistance, closing just below 1480 today. Below that, support can be found at 1450-1460 and 1434-1440. Critical support on the S&P is 1390, the index’s October 1998 uptrend line. It’s possible the market could escape a serious sell-off despite topping patterns on the Dow and S&P, but it will have to start firing on all cylinders to do so. The weakest month of the year, September, is right around the corner.

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