MIDDAY MARKETS: Tech investors reinterpret Greenspan''s stance

2 min read

Technology stocks were lackluster at midday Wednesday as tech investors reconsidered Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's comments. The Nasdaq inched up 15.68 points to 2,443.40, and the Dow Jones industrial average was off 67.41 points to 10,835.91.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was unchanged at 259.03.

After initially thinking Greenspan may have been hinting at another interest rate cut in his Senate testimony Tuesday, investors reconsidered. They now assume the economy may be strong enough to forestall a cut.

Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) , up $4.94 to $46.19, starred in a semiconductor equipment rally Wednesday, as analysts said the stock had hit bottom and was ready for a turnaround. Other companies rallying on an upgrade included KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC), up $2.94 to $40.06; Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS), up $2.25 to $41; and Varian Semiconductor (Nasdaq: VSEA), up $1.56 to $28.81.

USinternetworking (Nasdaq; USIT) was unchanged at 56 cents after the company beat lowered estimates for its fourth quarter and analysts found a bright side to the results.

TD Waterhouse Group (NYSE: TWE) , down $1.18 to $13.2, said its first-quarter profit fell 35 percent, though not as sharply as Wall Street had expected, as advertising costs and a recent slowdown in customer stock trading activity cut into growth.

Ameritrade Holding (Nasdaq: AMTD), off 16 cents to $8.81, agreed to buy software provider TradeCast for $67.3 million in stock, in a deal that expands Ameritrade's reach into the business-to-business market.

Sycamore (Nasdaq: SCMR) rose $1.56 to $24.13 after the company topped second-quarter estimates and maintained its outlook for the next two years. Analysts didn't change their ratings, but were mixed on whether the company could prove to be a harbor in rough telecom equipment waters.

AOL Latin America (Nasdaq: AOLA), unchanged at $5, said it received a $150 million cash infusion from its principal shareholders. The company also reported a smaller-than-expected loss for its fiscal second quarter. AOL (NYSE: AOL) fell $0.85 to $47.24.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) rose 6 cents to $28.56, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was up 6 cents to $32.5, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) rose 94 cents to $23.5 and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 56 cents to $57.63 .

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell 13 cents to $13.63 and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost 16 cents to $26.97.