Internet and semiconductor stocks enjoyed strong gains Wednesday in cautious trading following Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's rather bland testimony before the Senate. The Dow lost 7 points to 10,972.07 while the Nasdaq added 27 points to close at 2,705.84.
Greenspan chose not to comment on news that would nudge the stock markets, except to say he was "not overly concerned" that U.S. financial markets might become fragmented amid a drive to take key stock exchanges public.
In other economic news, orders for durable goods were reported by the Commerce Department, which said they rose only 0.3 percent in June to $196.95 billion. Economists surveyed by Reuters had anticipated an increase of 1 percent. The May figure was also revised downward to a 0.8 percent from the 1.2 percent gain originally reported.
America Online Inc. (AOL) moved up 4 13/16 to 103 while Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) rallied up 11 11/16 and 4 3/4 a share, respectively. Lycos Inc. (LCOS) picked up 1 9/16 to 45 15/16 and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) fell 1 to 40 5/8. Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) closed off 9/16 to 50 3/8.
Some initial public offerings got off to great starts Wednesday, led by Drugstore.com (DSCM) which shot up 32 1/4 to 50 1/4. Focal Communications Corporation (FCOM), a competitive local exchange carrier, closed up 6 1/2 to 19 1/2 but Quokka Sports Inc. (QKKA) lost 5/8 to 11 3/8.
Intel Corp. (INTC) sparked the chip stocks, gaining 2 3/4 to 70 5/16. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) inched up 1/4 to 16 13/16 and IBM Corp. (IBM) tacked on 2 1/8 to 128 3/8. Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) soared up 11 3/8 to 128 after BancBoston Robertson Stephens started it with a "strong buy" recommendation.
Among widely held PC stocks, Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) added 9/16 to 25 15/16 ahead of its second-quarter results; Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) rose 5/8 to 42 3/4; Gateway Inc. (GTW) shot up 4 to 78 7/8 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed up 11/16 to 54 3/8.
Nortel Networks (NT) was boosted by strong second quarter earnings posted after Tuesday's bell, and an upgrade from CIBC World Markets. It closed up 3 1/8 to 89 3/8.
KLA-Tencor Corporation (KLAC) posted fourth quarter earnings of $26 million, or 28 cents a share, beating expectations. It gained 1 9/16 to 67 3/16.
MindSpring Enterprises Inc. (MSPG) fell 4 3/4 to 35 1/2 after it topped analyst estimates in the second quarter, but said it doesn't expect much profit growth over the next few quarters.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) closed up 1 3/16 to 90 and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) picked up 5/8 to 37 11/16. Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) lost 13/16 to end at 70 3/4.