Too Much Good News?

There was so much good news on Thursday that investors could be forgiven for thinking it can’t get any better.

At least that’s how they acted, as the stock market opened at the highs of the day and spent the rest of the day on the defensive.

Yahoo was the day’s standout, soaring 16% on results that beat expectations in every way imaginable. For a day, at least, any worries about competition from Google were silenced.

Dell , up 2.6%, also gave investors reason to cheer when the company boosted first-quarter revenue guidance and doubled its stock buyback program.

But investors were mainly in a mood to sell good news.

Research in Motion closed down 2% despite beating estimates, raising guidance and announcing a stock split.

Better than expected results from GE and a big drop in weekly jobless claims weren’t enough to help the broader market, which finished in the red on terrorism fears ahead of the long holiday weekend and escalating violence in Iraq.

The Nasdaq added 2 to 2052, the S&P 500 declined 1 to 1139, and the Dow lost 38 to 10,442. Volume declined to 1.19 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.7 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 20-11 on the NYSE, and 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 58% on the NYSE, and 48% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 154-22 on the NYSE, and 190-13 on the Nasdaq.

Recent IPO TOM Online , up 14%, was one of many Internet stocks riding Yahoo’s coattails to strong gains. Looksmart , up 13%, was another.

InfoSpace surged 14% on an upgrade.

Parametric gained 7% after raising guidance.

Intuit declined 3% on weaker than expected TurboTax sales.

Intel , which reports earnings Tuesday, lost 1%.

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