Stocks Rebound From Steep Sell-off

Stocks rebounded from a steep sell-off on Friday prompted by an earnings warning from Intel. Internet stocks actually finished up on the day, as did the Dow.

The ISDEX rose 17 to 805, posting a 2% gain after trading as low as 759, and the Nasdaq dropped 25 to 3803, almost 200 points off its low. The S&P 500 slipped fractionally to 1448, and the Dow gained 81 to 10,847. Volume rose to 1.2 billion on the NYSE, and soared more than 30% on the Nasdaq to 2.2 billion. Decliners led 15 to 13 on the NYSE and 22 to 17 on the Nasdaq. An international intervention to boost the falling euro provided some support, as did the U.S. government’s decision to tap into the strategic oil reserves to stem the tide of rising oil prices. The market was also helped by a number of announcements from technology companies that their quarters are on track to meet estimates. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our new after hours trading site.

Shares of B2B companies led Internet stocks higher. PurchasePro soared 13 1/4 to 88 1/4 continuing to gain on positive comments from Lehman Brothers and an announcement of a 2-for-1 stock split. Ariba rose 16 7/16 to 168 3/4, and Commerce One surged 7 5/16 to 76 5/16.

Liberate gained 3 1/2 to 32 5/8 after beating estimates by 12 cents with a 9-cent loss. CMGI added 1/16 to 36 1/2 after beating estimates by 28 cents with a loss of $2.17 a share.

Internet advertising stocks were weak. DoubleClick fell 2 1/2 to 37 7/16 on a Thomas Weisel downgrade from Strong Buy to Buy. ValueClick was unchanged at 8 9/16 after warning of weaker-than-expected third-quarter revenues. But the company said fourth quarter outlook was strong, and it initiated a $10 million stock repurchase plan.

Internet consultant Luminant fell 1 19/32 to 3 19/32 on an earnings warning. The company expects to lose money in the quarter, while expectations were for a profit of 10 cents. The company blamed a decline in dotcom revenues and an increase in debts from such firms that may not be collectible.

InterWorld plummeted 5 13/64 to 3 15/16 after warning that its third-quarter loss will be double what analysts expected.

America Online lost 1 1/16 to 55 3/16. The company proposed formal concessions to the European Commission, which is moving to block AOL’s merger with Time Warner. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission also appears to be weighing a move to block the merger.

Cyberian Outpost gained 3/16 to 4 9/16 after beating estimates by 3 cents with a 23-cent loss.

StarMedia slipped 1/8 to 7 13/16 on a Bear Stearns Neutral rating and comments that the company will have a tough time in the Brazilian and U.S. Hispanic markets despite strong management.

Juniper Networks continued to rise on news of new router products, up 15 57/64 to 227.

Some technical comments on the market: The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all held well above the critical support levels of 10,500, 1410, and 3500, respectively. All three look poised to head higher, but the first test will come quickly, as all three finished just beneath resistance. The Dow finished right at the top of the 10,750-10,850 resistance range. If it can get through 10,900, the blue chips have room to run. The S&P 500 closed right at its broken October 1998 uptrend line (1450). If it can get through 1460 and stay there, the index will look much better.

The Nasdaq broke its old Octo

ber 1998 trendline at 3700 on the big gap down this morning, but recovered to close well above that line. Critical support is the August low of 3521; lower than 3500, and the May low of 3042 will almost certainly be retested. To the upside, the Nasdaq needs to take out 3913 to begin to look healthy. If we look at the Nasdaq’s action from 4259 to 3614 as one move, the first key retracement level is now 3859, the 38% Fibonacci level, a little more than 50 points from here. The ISDEX looks remarkably good here. The ISDEX has found support repeatedly in the 750-760 area. Critical support is the May uptrend line at about 720. The index cleared resistance in the 787-800 area today, setting it up for a possible retest of the 50% retracement level at 850.

An impressive recovery: the market seems to have grasped that Intel’s problems may be a company-specific problem. Intel’s earnings reports have been looking weak the last couple of quarters and have never really justified the stock’s run-up, so the warning and sell-off aren’t surprising. However, as we’ve pointed out before, investors haven’t been pleased about the trend of companies using investment gains to meet their numbers while core businesses fail to impress. A trend to keep an eye on in the deluge of earnings reports next month.

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