Techs Hold on to Some of Yesterday’s Gains

The broad markets veered into positive territory as inflation reports showed little change and retail sales remained strong. However, by midday, techs were not able to hold onto the strong gains posted on Monday. Upgrades and downgrades affected the techs, and news from Oracle, posted after the market close, is likely to affect the mood at tomorrow’s open.

The Nasdaq closed at 1543, down 10.3 points.

Morgan Stanley helped network chip maker Broadcom Corp. build on yesterday’s gains when it upgraded its rating on the stock from “overweight” from “equal-weight.” Broadcom finished the day up 4.3 percent or $.91 to close at $22.15. On Monday, it rose $1.18.

IBM was off $1.20, or 1.6 percent, to clos at $75.94 capping two days of pessimistic forecasts from Wall Street analysts. Yesterday, Richard Gardner of Salomon Smith Barney said he believes IBM’s second-quarter results will be flat from the first to second quarters. The consensus had been that IBM’s second quarter earnings would grow to 85 cents a share from 68 cents a share in the first quarter. Today, Morgan Stanley analyst Rebecca Runkle lowered both 2002 and 2003 earnings estimates. “Signs of weakness in IBM’s hardware business suggest risk to (second-quarter) revenues,” Runkle told Morgan Stanley clients. IBM has said it believes continued growth in its services business would make up for weak hardware sales as the year progresses.

And another Morgan Stanley report, this one looking at PC hardware sales, lowered indusry-wide 2002 sales estimate. Previously, Morgan Stanley was looking for growth between 0 and 5 percent across the entire PC industry. It is now calling for growth in the range of flat to slightly negative.

HP was down on that news but then it rose mid-morning when the company announced it had been selected by Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios to supply hardware systems used in Disney film production. HP ended the day up $.13 to close at $17.87.

Amazon added 2.0 percent after it said it would give free shipping for orders of more than $50. ing it from $99 earlier.
posted fourth-quarter results after the bell that beat analysts expectations of $.12/share. Oracle posted earnings of $.14 per shar excluding a onetime charge related to an investment in Liberate Technologies. In afterhours activity, Oracle sales rose on the news.

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