MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs gain on economic news

2 min read

The Nasdaq was just holding its head above water at midday Monday, despite a warning from Texas Instruments. Investors were cheered by an economic report that could incite the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again. The Nasdaq rose 19.91 points to 2,282.42 and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 51.17 points to 10,493.07.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index rose 2 points to 232.33.

News on existing home sales indicated that the economy is continuing to slow. The report, from the National Association of Realtors is a gauge of consumer confidence, something investors will be eyeing as they try to anticipate what Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will do with interest rates.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes dropped in January, with the annualized number of sales at their lowest rate in a year. The annualized rate of home sales dropped 6.6 percent last month to 4.65 million from a revised 4.98 million in December.

Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) joined a growing list of tech companies in blaming a weak economy for its troubles, announcing Monday it will miss first-quarter estimates. But the news didn't seem to trouble investors too much, considering the stock was only down 45 cents a share to $29.70.

3Com (Nasdaq: COMS), up 22 cents a share to $9.25, also got a good reception to bad news; the company will eliminate 1,200 jobs as part of a cost-cutting move. CEO Bruce Claflin said the cuts, which amount to around 13 percent of its work force according to a company spokesman, are a reaction to broader woes hitting the telecom market.

Qwest Communications International (NYSE: Q), up $1.04 to $36.94, reiterated that it's on track to meet its 2001 targets Monday, thanks to strong sales for its high-tech Internet services in January. The company also said it will re-enter the long-distance business in several states.

Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF), up $1.38 to $8.44, rose on news it has joined the Siebel Alliance Program and that the two companies will integrate their billing software to create a new product.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) fell 94 cents a share to $26.06, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) fell $1 to $28.94, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) was unchanged at $22 and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was up $1.50 to $58.25.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell 6 cents a share to $11.75, AOL Time Warner (NYSE: AOL) fell 61 cents a share to $43.91 and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost $1.13 to $24.31.

ZDII staff and Reuters contributed to this roundup.