Chip and chip-equipment stocks enjoyed solid gains Wednesday, lifting the Nasdaq composite 45 points to 2,519.56. However, the Dow Jones industrial average fell another 75 points to 10,690.29 in very light trading.
"The market is second guessing itself," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trade at Wachovia Securities. "Trading is very light, and when markets start second-guessing themselves you get this kind of disparity (between the Dow and the Nasdaq)."
Technology investors were enthused by a report from the Semiconductor Industry Association which said that total semiconductor sales are expected to reach about $140.8 billion in 1999, a jump of 12.1 percent over 1998. SIA said strong sales of personal computers and other devices used for Internet access and conducting electronic commerce were responsible for the increased demand.
The news lifted major chip stocks as Intel Corp. (INTC) moved up 1 7/16 to 53 1/8 and IBM Corp. (IBM) added 5/16 to 116 15/16. National Semiconductor Corp. (NSM) rose 1 15/16 to 20 15/16 and LSI Logic Corp. (LSI) shot up 1 7/16 to 41.
Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (CY) gained 2 5/16 to 14 3/16 after it was upgraded by Prudential Securities.
PC-related issues also fared well. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) gained 2 15/16 to 82 5/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) shot up 2 3/4 to 61 15/16.
Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) added 1 1/2 to 35 1/2 while Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) and Gateway Inc. (GTW) lost 3/16 and 1 7/8 a share, respectively. Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed up 3/4 to 48 7/16.
In a striking contrast to the previous few trading days, Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) fell 2 3/16 to 46 7/16 while the rest of Internet sector picked up ground.
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) added 3 1/16 to 146 3/8 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and America Online Inc. (AOL) closed up 2 7/16 and ? a share, respectively. Lycos Inc. (LCOS) picked up 7/8 to 93.
MessageMedia (MESG) tacked on 1 11/16 to 11 3/8 after buying Revnet for $46 million.
Condor Technology (CNDR) nosedived after issuing a profit warning, closing off 4 15/16 to 4 15/16. Qwest Communications International (QWST) rose 3 11/16 to 47 after BellSouth said in a regulatory filing that it was interested in acquiring Qwest. BellSouth (BLS) closed off 1/16 to 46 1/16.
Conexant Systems (CNXT) surged up 6 3/16 to 51 1/2 after the company said it would easily top estimates for its fiscal third quarter.