Stocks End Week Modestly Lower

Stocks ended the week modestly lower, as the Nasdaq was unable to close above its 200-day moving average.

The ISDEX lost 6 to 764, and the Nasdaq declined 10 to 3930. The S&P 500 slipped 4 to 1491, and the Dow lost 9 to 11,046. Volume declined to 816 million shares on the NYSE, but rose slightly to 1.42 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 16 to 11 on the NYSE and 20 to 18 on the Nasdaq. The Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday, but the almost universal opinion is that the Fed will leave rates unchanged. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our new after hours trading site.

Net2Phone rose 6 9/16 to 32 on news that it will work with Cisco Systems to design Internet telephony gateways. Clarent fell 3 1/2 to 47 5/8 on the news.

BroadVision fell 3 1/4 to 30 1/4 on rumors that the company may lose another major contract.

Portal Software , weighed down all week by concerns about the company’s earnings report, beat estimates after the bell Thursday by 2 cents with 3-cent earnings. The stock rose to 60 in after-hours trading and opened Friday at 59, and several brokerages made positive comments, but the stock fell victim to profit-taking, down 1 11/16 to 54 3/4.

Open Text gained 2 3/4 to 25 13/16 after blowing out estimates by 11 cents with 16-cent earnings. Agile Software beat estimates by a penny with 3-cent earnings, and the stock gained 7 3/16 to 64 3/16.

Corning gained 6 to 295 1/2, another new high, continuing its run on news of a 3-for-1 stock split. Ciena fell victim to profit-taking, falling 2 7/8 to 176 5/16 after trading as high as 190 1/2. That stock had also closed at a new high yesterday. gained another 3/32 to 1 1/4, staying above the important $1 level on speculation that the company could find a buyer.

Customer relationship management (CRM) stocks were mixed despite positive analyst comments. Kana Communications added 3/4 to 40 1/2, continuing a strong run, and e.piphany gained 11/16 to 99 1/4. But Art Technology Group fell 3 1/8 to 92 1/4, and Interwoven lost 1 to 75 5/8.

eBay fell victim to profit-taking, giving up half its recent gains, off 8 1/8 to 54 15/16. Investors had been bidding up the stock on optimism about global business prospects. Yahoo continued to lose ground on a lukewarm Prudential recommendation, falling 5 47/64 to 125 3/8.

i2 Technologies continued to struggle at resistance in the mid-150s, losing 7 1/4 to 150 3/8.

Healtheon/WebMD lost 1/4 to 13 on reports that it will lay off about 100 employees.

Some technical comments on the market: The Nasdaq has crossed above its 200-day moving average four times during this correction, not including today. Twice it closed the previous day quite a bit below the 200 DMA and gapped up through it – both times it went on to post decent gains. The other two times it closed just below the line, as it did yesterday – and both times it peaked in the next day or two and then reversed. One of those times it went down significantly, the other time it only declined for three days. Can the index end that trend this time? The way to bet would be not likely: a strong crossing of the line seems to be key to a continuing uptrend, and the index turned back above the 200 DMA today and closed below it on slightly higher volume. Volume and chart patterns have not been generally supportive of

a major move here. Today was an options expiration day; the last two have been down days, and today continued that trend. The week after options expiration has also had a modest down bias as of late.

The Nasdaq has been stuck in a narrowing trading range and has yet to establish firm direction either way. The index may be forming a bearish flag pattern in the daily chart since bottoming at 3521 two weeks ago, giving the index potential for more downside, as much as 600 points. A break below 3800 would be a warning sign. However, a flag pattern has at most three weeks to form, so if the Nasdaq can avoid a sell-off for one more week, we have some hope here. Don’t expect much of a rally out of the Fed meeting, barring a return to a neutral bias on future rate hikes, since the market seems to have already priced in no change in rates or outlook. 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 is once again back above 1480-1490 resistance and is just below 1500. Just above 1500 is resistance from the downtrend line of 1553 in March and 1517 in July; a move above 1506 would just about take that out, and would also take out the index’s 78.6% retracement level. The Dow needs to stay above the 10,950 area to preserve the upside breakout of the diamond formation, and so far it has done that. Resistance on the Dow is just under 11,200.

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