Stocks Rise, Fall, But End Unchanged

Stocks rose and then fell on Friday, ending a tumultuous day unchanged.

The ISDEX slipped 5 to 811 after rising as high as 821. The Nasdaq lost 10 to 4042, 40 points off its high. The S&P 500 slipped 1 to 1506, and the Dow rose 9 to 11,192. Volume dried up to 674 million shares on the NYSE and 1.2 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 14 to 13 on the NYSE and 21 to 17 on the Nasdaq. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our new after hours trading site.

A phony press release that said fibre channel firm Emulex was restating earnings and its CEO was resigning amid an SEC investigation took the wind out of an early rally. Emulex fell 68 to 45 before it was halted on the fake release, which was distributed via Internet Wire, according to news reports. It recovered, but ended the day down 7 3/16 to 105 5/8. Unlike most hoaxes, this one came from a credible source, and traders took it seriously, although some analysts pointed out that the company would normally have alerted Nasdaq to halt trading in its stock before issuing such dramatic news. Other fibre channel stocks, including QLogic and Brocade , fell sharply on the hoax, but then recovered.

Advertising stocks were strong on a Jupiter Communications report that said Internet advertising should grow by 30% annually over the next five years. DoubleClick rose 1 1/8 to 41 3/4, 24/7 Media gained 1 to 16 3/4, Engage added 1 1/4 to 11 3/16, ValueClick climbed 1 3/16 to 11, and Mediaplex surged 3 1/4 to 11 1/4.

B2B stocks were strong. i2 Technologies rose 9 11/16 to 167 15/16, breaking out above a large rising resistance line. Commerce One gained 4 9/16 to 53 7/8 to close above its previous breakout point of 52-53. PurchasePro soared 6 3/8 to 46, and FreeMarkets gained 6 1/4 to 64 1/4.

Digex fell 4 1/2 to 84 1/2 on an AG Edwards downgrade to Maintain Position from Buy after the stock’s recent run-up on takeover rumors.

Sycamore Networks lost 7 1/2 to 150 1/2 despite beating estimates by 2 cents with 8-cent-per-share earnings. Puma Technology slipped 2 1/2 to 20 15/16 despite beating estimates by 3 cents with an 8-cent loss.

Razorfish lost 1 13/64 to 13 11/32 on news that company president Mike Pehl was leaving the company three months after assuming the post to spend more time with his family and to “explore the next phase of his professional career.” Pehl was chairman of i-Cube before it was acquired by Razorfish.

The IPO of priced at 7, opened for trading at 8 1/2 and rose to 10 1/2 before pulling back to close at 8 3/16.

eBenX gained 1 3/8 to 17 7/8 on a CS First Boston Buy rating and $20 price target.

Some technical comments on the market: When a stock or index rises, falls, and then ends unchanged after a strong run-up, it’s called a doji, and it can signal a top, if only a short-term one. The last time this happened, the S&P 500 fell from 1511 to 1414 before recovering, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re in for a sizeable decline here. The Nasdaq turned back this morning at 4083, right below its old 50% retracement level of 4087. That’s also about as high as the index can go without breaking its downtrend line, and since it has been rising here in a bearish rising wedge, we suspect this rally may have gone about as far as it can go. However, it’s not likely to fall out of bed here, at leas

t not right away: wedges tend to break down about two-thirds of the way through the pattern, and the two-thirds points is still about a week away. A break much below 3950 would break the rising wedge. Important support on the Nasdaq is 3700, the important trendline of the massive symmetrical triangle we talked about yesterday. A strong move above 4100 could give the Nasdaq room to run.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 continue to poke their heads out above their downtrend lines, but have yet to do so with much force. Those indexes are also forming converging boundary lines, or “rising wedges,” meaning that their rallies are likely to run out of steam. A break below 3850 on the Nasdaq 100 could set up a test of the lower boundary of a massive symmetrical triangle at 3500. A break below 1500 on the S&P 500 could carry that index back to 1425; critical support on the S&P 500 is about 1400. The ISDEX also has been forming a rising wedge here, and ran right up against the lower boundary of a previous broken rising wedge the last two days. A break much below 770 on the ISDEX would just about break the bearish flag pattern. Support on the ISDEX is at 693-700, 650 and 600. 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 11,200, which it challenged today. If it is successful here, next resistance is 11,275.

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