Stocks Sell Off On Heels Of Fed Decision

Traders sold on the news Thursday morning, sending stocks lower a day after the Federal Reserve voted to leave overnight interest rates unchanged while maintaining its tightening bias. Traders were already fretting about the Fed’s next meeting in August.

The ISDEX lost 8 to 722, while the Nasdaq fell 75 to 3864. The Dow dropped 119 to 10,408 and the S&P 500 declined 14 to 1440. Volume was 460 million shares on the NYSE, in line with Wednesday’s pace, but declined to 670 million shares on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 14 to 12 on the Big Board and 22 to 13 on the Nasdaq. Liberate , off 7/8 to 24 5/8, and Intraware , down 1 1/4 to 18 7/16, are set to report earnings after the bell.

Priceline.com led the ISDEX lower, falling 5 13/16 to 34 3/8 on news that six airlines plan to band together to launch their own Web site offering low-priced airline tickets.

Yahoo! , down 2 11/16 to 120 7/8, and Amazon.com , off 5/8 to 37 1/4, declined on cautionary comments by Lehman Brothers, which doesn’t see much upside to Yahoo’s upcoming earnings report and cautioned that Amazon’s may come in on the light side. Lehman also said it may lower second half revenue estimates for Amazon due to lack of traction in the company’s new areas. It was a Lehman bond analyst who sent shares of Amazon sprawling last week on concern that the company may run out of money next year. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was out in force yesterday defending his company, saying he expects to fund operations from cash flow in the final quarter of this year.

Shares of DoubleClick added 2 43/64 to 39 13/16 on news that the company had entered into an agreement with RealNetworks to sell advertising, sponsorships and e-commerce solutions across the Real.com network in 16 countries outside the U.S. RealNetworks rose 1 13/16 to 50 3/4 on a W.R. Hambrecht Buy rating and $60 price target.

Juniper Networks rose 6 11/16 to 143 1/8 on news that it had signed a co-marketing agreement with Nortel Networks . The deal had been expected for some time. Juniper also rose yesterday on news that it had been added to Lehman’s annual Uncommon Values list.

Other Internet infrastructure plays did not fare as well. SDL Inc. fell 8 13/16 to 279 1/8 on news that it will build two new facilities and expand operations to meet demand. Corning fell 2 1/2 to 262 despite positive comments and a $325 price target from Merrill Lynch. JDS Uniphase continued to struggle, off 4 11/16 to 117 3/16.

EarthLink gained 3/16 to 15 on news of a national distribution deal with Hewlett-Packard. The company will become the leading ISP for HP Pavilion consumer PC sales.

Bid.com gained 9/32 to 2 9/32 on news that it had been selected by GE Capital Auto Financial Services to auction off-lease automobiles to dealers across North America.

Internet video application service firm Virage was welcomed in its IPO debut, rising to 18 1/2 after pricing at 11.

Buy.com gained 21/32 to 5 13/16 on news of an alliance with Palm and word that it had settled misleading ad charges with the Federal Trade Commission. Palm gained on better-than-expected earnings.

NetRatings gained 1 9/16 to 28 11/16 on news that it will build and measure a custom Internet audience panel for Yahoo.

Some technical comments on the market: We broke bearish flag patterns to the downside this morning on the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, and all three moves were confirmed by MACD sell signals in the 60-minute charts. The Dow flirted with the lower boundary of its bearish diamond pattern (10,375-10,400) before rebounding, a very significant le

vel because it implies a 2,000-point move to the downside if definitively broken. The significance of the diamond boundary is underscored by the fact that it sits on the Dow’s long-term trendline dating from November 1994, the start of this great bull market. If selling intensifies this afternoon, the break could come here. Conversely, a weak break of the diamond pattern would give the index room to rally. The index has run into significant resistance in the 10,600 area. A secondary pattern in play on the Dow is the bearish descending triangle, with a lower boundary around 10,200-10,250; a break of that number would predict a decline to about 9,500. The S&P 500 also is forming a diamond in the weekly charts, with upper and lower boundaries of 1480 and 1370, respectively. That pattern also sits on the index’s long-term trendline. On the Nasdaq, key support is at 3725 and 3585; the 200-day moving average is just under 3750. To the upside, the Nasdaq needs to move decisively above 4000 and take out 4073 to negate its key reversal and bearish rising wedge that was broken last week. The ISDEX is holding up well and remains above important support of 700; a clean break of that number would give the ISDEX room to 600, while a close above 790 would be bullish.

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