Stocks Survive Slide To Post Gains

After starting strong and then wilting into the early afternoon, stocks rebounded enough Thursday to post modest gains and give shaken investors some hope that a bottom is near.

The Dow Jones ended a seven-day skid — its longest in 18 years — to finish the day up 69 to 8542. The Nasdaq gained 22 to 1397, while the S&P 500 advanced 5 to 906.

All major indexes answered the morning bell exuberantly, with the Dow climbing as high as 8721 and the Nasdaq reaching 1427 before 10 a.m. But by 1 p.m. stocks had slipped into the red before regaining equilibrium.

Despite missing earnings forecasts and announcing layoffs, chipmaker Intel saw its shares gain 6%, or $1.08, to $19.44 as investors focused on more upbeat predictions for the third quarter.

Two other tech bellwethers — networking equipment maker Cisco Systems and database vendor Oracle — posted gains Tuesday. Cisco rose 53 cents, or 4%, to $14.80, while Oracle climbed 48 cents, or 5%, to $10.47.

Server maker Sun Microsystems fell 2%, or 12 cents, to $5.68 despite a “buy” reiteration Tuesday from Banc of America Securities.

IBM gained 2%, or $1.68, to $70.69 in advance of its earnings report due after the market’s close. That report showed a drop in profit to 3 cents per share from $1.15 per share in the year-ago quarter. It was the fourth consecutive quarter of declining profits for Big Blue.
Dow stalwart Citigroup gained 2% to $36.93 after reporting a 15% increase in Q2 net income.

Web real estate site Homestore soared 29%, or 23 cents, to $1.01 after settling a lawsuit it filed in April against Bargain Network, Inc. Homestore sued to prevent the Web site from displaying listings from Homestores Web site. In return for dropping the lawsuit, Bargain has agreed to cease posting listings.

Content management software maker Vignette sank 13%, or 25 cents, to $1.63 after the company rescheduled its Q2 earnings conference call to July 23. Vignette officials said the company is still working on a restructuring plan.

Search engine and caching software vendor Inktomi rose 19%, or 17 cents, to $1.06 despite announcing a 9 cents per share pro forma net loss in the third quarter. Wall Street reacted instead to the companys announcement that it would focus its efforts on the Web search and enterprise information retrieval markets and reduce its content networking group.

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