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Markets creep lower after early gains

Stocks slide into the red after early advances, as earnings jitters give investors little reason to put money on the table.

Stocks slid into the red after early gains, as earnings jitters give investors little reason to put money on the table.

The markets initially received a boost from shares of 3Com. The network-equipment maker released better-than-expected earnings yesterday after the markets closed. 3Com's stock jumped $3.06, or 22 percent, to $17.

On the negative side, e-commerce giant Priceline warned today that third-quarter revenue would fall short of Wall Street's expectations. The Norwalk, Conn.-based company estimates revenue to come in at $360 to $380 million, compared to third-quarter 1999 revenue of $152.2 million.

The company pinned blame on sagging airline-ticket sales, expected to be $20 million to $25 million less than levels registered during the second quarter.

Priceline shares hit a new 52-week low today of $10.06. They rebounded slightly to close at $10.75, down 42 percent since yesterday's closing price and down 77 percent since the beginning of the year. Like many e-commerce companies whose stocks soared in the early spring but have since bottomed out, Priceline hit a 52-week high of $104.25 in March.

Other e-commerce companies took a hit from the Priceline news. Amazon fell $1.88 to $37.88, while eBay dropped $7.19, or 10 percent, to $63.50. Shares of Yahoo also got caught in the fallout, diving $12.06 to $90.38.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 60 points before dropping 32.80 to close at 3,656.30, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index inched down 0.64 to 1,426.57.

The Dow Jones industrial average peaked at 10,678.30 before closing down 2.96 at 10,628.36. A leading decliner was Caterpillar, which lost $2.19 and hit a new 52-week low of $32.81.

At the end of regular trading, Microsoft dropped $2.06 to $60.63; ADC Telecommunications lost $3.50 to close at $25.50; and JDS Uniphase lost $5.31 to $97.75. Cisco Systems rose $2.13 to $57.31.

The CNET tech index lost 26.96 to close at 2,846.55. Losers edged out winners, with 66 of the 97 stocks in the index falling, 29 rising and two remaining unchanged.

Of the 18 sectors tracked by CNET Investor, Internet e-tailers posted the sharpest drops, falling 7 percent. Wireless companies were the day's largest gainers, climbing nearly 2 percent.

AvantGo took advantage of early momentum in the markets during its first day of trading. The company's initial offering rose $8, or almost 67 percent, to $20. The company makes software that links the Internet to wireless phones and handheld computers.

Chip stocks, which initially helped boost the Nasdaq into positive territory, ended lower for the fifth straight day--despite Intel gaining 56 cents to $43.88. Intel has been battered since the company announced Thursday that revenues would fall short of expectations.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index fell 5.95 to 864.72, led by chipmaker LSI Logic, which lost $3 to close at $29. Micron Technology avoided the chip slump, increasing 4 percent to $51.63. KLA-Tencor gained 2.7 percent to close at $40.88.

Among members of the CNET tech index, Adaptec rose $2.19, or 11 percent, to $21.25. The computer data-storage company filed to spinoff its software products group, Roxio, in the form of an initial public offering.

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