Midday Markets: Techs are chipper

Larry Dignan
3 min read

Technology stocks were up across the board at midday Wednesday as Internet stocks rallied and an optimistic semiconductor sales report boosted chip and PC-related issues. The Nasdaq was up 26 to 2,500 and the Dow Jones industrial average slumped 69 to 10,696.

Trading was light and lackluster on the broader markets as interest rate fears held back stocks. However, semiconductor issues led techs higher.

The Semiconductor Industry Association said that total semiconductor sales are expected to reach about $140.8 billion in 1999, a jump of 12.1 percent over 1998, fueled by sales of personal computers and other devices used for Internet access and conducting electronic commerce.

Keep in mind that previous forecasts from the SIA have been way off, but its latest projection put the spotlight on chip makers such as Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC).

Intel added 1 7/16 to 53 1/8, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) gained 1/8 to 17 13/16, National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: NSM) was up 3/8 to 19 3/8 and LSI Logic (NYSE: LSI) jumped 1 5/16 to 40 7/8. Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE: MU) was up 2 to 41 3/16 and Altera Corp. (Nasdaq: ALTR) added 2 13/16 to 35 5/16. Chip equipment maker Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) was up 2 1/8 to 63 15/16.

PC-related issues also fared well. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) was up 3 to 82 3/8, Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) gained 3/4 to 34 3/4 and IBM (NYSE: IBM) added 3 1/16 to 119 11/16.

IBM said it would buy Whistle Communications Inc., a maker of a new class of computers that supply Internet services to small businesses.

Internet stocks also went along for the ride as Inter@ctive Week's @Net Index was up slightly to 293.

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) was up 5 1/2 to 148 13/16, At Home Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHM) added 3/4 to 98, Go2Net (Nasdaq: GENT) jumped 3 11/16 to 104 1/4 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) gained 1 1/8 to 111 1/2. MessageMedia (Nasdaq: MESG) jumped 1 23/32 to 11 13/32, or 18 percent, after buying Revnet for $46 million.

Among other stocks in the news:

  • Shares of Condor Technology (Nasdaq: CNDR) nosedived after a profit warning. Condor shares were down 4 3/4 to 5 1/8, or 48 percent.

  • Qwest Communications International (Nasdaq: QWST) jumped 2 1/4 to 45 9/16 after BellSouth said in a regulatory filing that it was interested in acquiring Qwest. BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) fell 1/8 to 46.

  • Conexant Systems (Nasdaq: CNXT) jumped 4 1/4 to 49 9/16, or 9 percent, after the company said it would easily top estimates for its fiscal third quarter. Analysts also happily hopped on the Conexant bandwagon.

  • Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) added 1 1/2 to 85 9/16 after inking a 10-year wireless equipment pact with Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUWN), which gained 1 15/16 to 61 1/8.