MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs lose earnings enthusiasm

3 min read

Techs wilted at midday Wednesday as mediocre quarterly reports reversed recent earnings enthusiasm. The Nasdaq fell 42.45 to 4,124.96, and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 39.71 to 11,069.60.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index lost 1 to 562.94.

The Dow was outpacing the Nasdaq for the first time in weeks, as disappointments in Qualcomm's earnings release, and other mixed results, brought techs down.

Investors were also anxious for hints as to the Fed's initiative on interest rates; Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is expected to testify at his renomination hearing before the Senate Banking Committee later Wednesday. Most economists expect the Fed to hike interest rates next week by a quarter of a percentage point.

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) lost 24 1/2 to 124 1/2 after analysts had mixed reactions to its fourth quarter results. The company also made a $1 billion acquisition.

Nortel Networks Corp (NYSE: NT) fell 4 9/16 to 104 5/16 after it posted fourth-quarter operating earnings Tuesday that outpaced analysts' estimates

Other stocks moving on earnings reports included RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK), which was up 14 13/16 after it topped estimates yesterday. The company also announced a stock-split, and said it was bought software maker Netzip Inc. for 1.7 million RealNetworks shares worth $265 million at Tuesday's market close.

Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC) lost 12 1/4 to 187 5/8 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) lost 8 1/16 to 111 15/16 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.

24/7 Media (Nasdaq: TFSM) rose 2 13/64 to 63 53/64 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) rose 1/2 to 67 1/4 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.

Official Payments Corp. (Nasdaq: OPAY) rose 1 1/2 to 44 3/4 after it reported a fourth quarter net loss of 42 cents a share, narrower that the 51 cents a share loss predicted by First Call. The company said its list of government clients has grown.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) fell 13/16 to 68 7/16 and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost 15 5/16 to 330 1/4. America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) lost 7/8 to 60 3/8.

Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) lost 1 7/8 to 29 1/8 after it topped analysts' estimates by a penny. Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) dropped 63/64 to 41 9/64.