Stocks Fall Victim to Profit-taking

Last week’s exuberance in the stock market gave way to profit-taking, after hawkish comments from two Federal Reserve officials suggested that the Fed may not be impressed by recent signs of economic slowing.

The Nasdaq was up more than 60 points at one point, but finished at the lows of the day, down 65 points to 3756. The Dow lost 79, while the S&P 500 fell 9 points. The ISDEX closed down 27 to 730, also at the lows of the day. NYSE volume rose to 940 million shares, while Nasdaq volume increased to 1.6 billion shares. Advancers edged decliners by 15 to 14 on the NYSE, while decliners led 21 to 19 on the Nasdaq.

Leading the ISDEX lower were Priceline.com , down 4 15/16 to 44 1/16, Verticalnet , down 4 7/16 to 38 13/16.

Cisco pulled back 2 5/64 to 61 5/32 after failing to break its downtrend line. Amazon.com continued to lose ground in the wake of a Barron’s report that said the company could suffer if forced to change its accounting practices. The stock fell 3 15/16 to 50 9/16. Other large caps that fell victim to profit-taking included eBay, down 3 5/8 to 71 13/16 and Yahoo , down 2 11/16 to 134 5/8.

drkoop.com gained 27/32 to 2 5/8, resuscitated by a two-year sponsorship contract with webofcare.com. The stock broke out of a two-month trading range on high volume, but pulled back at the end of the day. Healtheon/WebMD continued to show technical strength, up 1 1/4 to 20.

Fatbrain.com gained 1 3/4 to 9 3/8. Barnes & Noble.com made a $20 million investment in Fatbrain unit MightyWords, which is being spun off, and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures made a $10 million investment in the “digital marketplace for the written word.”

24/7 Media gained 2 9/64 to 17 1/2. Prudential initiated coverage with a Strong Buy rating and a price target of $48. The company also announced the acquisition of iPromotions, an incentive marketing programs company. Open Market gained 1 1/4 to 15 1/4.

Ariba began the day strong, but then fell victim to profit-taking after its strong recent run, down 5 1/16 to 75 7/16. Robertson Stephens initiated coverage of the B2B leader with a Buy rating. Ariba also announced that it had been selected by specialty metals marketplace MetalSpectrum to implement its online marketplace. B2B stocks showing strength included Fairmarket , up 1 3/8 to 56 1/8, and WebMethods , up 15 11/16 to 134 1/4.

Webvan Group gained 1/8 to 6. Goldman Sachs reiterated its Recommended List rating after the company announced the introduction of non-grocery items such as books, consumer electronics, videos, DVDs, housewares, office supplies, toys, BBQ, lawn/garden, pets and flowers.

AOL gained 9/16 to 55 5/8 after Jeffries & Co. Internet analyst Fred Moran reiterated his “buy” rating and $110 18-month price target. He expects shareholders to approve the merger with Time Warner when they meet June 23. He expects total revenue for fiscal 2000 to grow to $6.88 billion, up 44 percent, and raised his earnings estimate to 55 cents per share, up from previous forecasts of 35 cents.

Extended Systems , pr

ofiled by Tom Taulli this morning, gained 5 7/8 to 51 1/2.

Troubled MicroStrategy bounced 3 3/4 to 27 15/16.

Some technical comments on the market: The Nasdaq completed a move from a reverse head and shoulders bottom to the 3,800 level, coinciding nicely with a 38% Fibonacci retracement of the index’s move from 5132 to 3042. The index could pull back to around 3700 before resuming its move up. The 3850-3900 and 3950-4000 levels are likely to continue to pose some resistance; if the Nasdaq can break through them, it should complete a 50% Fibonacci move to the 4100-4200 level. The S&P 100 (OEX) seems to be arguing for a new bull phase, having broken through a major trendline last week. That index too formed a reverse head and shoulders pattern in the 60-minute chart. However, the indices are still developing larger bearish patterns in the weekly charts that need to be broken to resume a new bull phase: “diamond” patterns in the Dow and S&P 500, and either a head and shoulders or diamond in the S&P 100. The S&P 500 went right to the upper boundary of its diamond pattern last Friday before turning back. We will be following these patterns as they develop.

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