MARKET CLOSE: Watered down earnings stifle techs

3 min read

Some less-than-stellar earnings reports from the likes of Qualcomm and BMC Software pushed the Nasdaq composite down 97 points to 4,070.12 while the Dow Jones industrial average inched up 3 points to finish at 11,032.99.

"Generally the money in technology names is very skittish and any time there's bad news, they just look for something else to go to,'' said Peter Gottlieb, the vice president and portfolio manager at First Albany Asset Management. "I'm not sure that people are even looking at the fundamentals. It's just the tone."

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) plunged 24 1/8 to 124 7/8 after analysts had mixed reactions to its fourth quarter results. The company also made a $1 billion acquisition.

Nortel Networks Corp (NYSE: NT) shed 8 15/16 to 99 15/16 after it posted fourth-quarter operating earnings Tuesday that outpaced analysts' estimates

RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK) rose 12 to 169 7/8 after it beat estimates and set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Intel Corp. (INTC) lopped off 5 1/16 to 96 1/2 while Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) closed off 2 7/8 and 2 1/4 a share, respectively.

Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC) dropped 14 7/8 to 185 after it missed analysts' estimates by a penny in its fourth quarter. BMC Software (Nasdaq: BMCS) also tumbled, down 4 5/16 to 39 3/8 after it missed analysts' estimates in its third quarter.

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) slid 8 3/4 to 111 1/4 after it said fourth quarter earnings were 34 cents a share, well ahead of First Call's prediction of 31 cents a share, on booming software sales.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) fell 1 3/4 to 40 3/8; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) shed 1 5/8 to 29 3/8; Gateway Inc. (GTW) trimmed 1 to 60 1/4 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) shaved off 2 1/16 to 110 3/16.

24/7 Media (Nasdaq: TFSM) picked up 3 to 64 5/8 said Wednesday it will see a gain of about $11 million from its sale of 150,000 shares of China.com (Nasdaq: CHINA), and see a cash profit in its first quarter.

U S West (NYSE: USW) inched up 1/8 to 66 7/8 after it topped consensus estimates Wednesday with fourth quarter earnings of $425 million, or 83 cents a share, on sales of $3.49 billion. First Call was expecting a profit of 78 cents a share.

America Online Inc. (AOL) tacked on 1 15/16 to 63 3/16. Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) lost 17 to 328 9/16 while Lycos Inc. (LCOS) and eBay Inc. (EBAY) gained 1 and 16 1/16 a share, respectively.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) sank 3 7/16 to 99 3/8. Oracle Corp. (ORCL) dipped 1 3/8 to 55 1/16 and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) closed off 4 to 78 5/8.