MIDDAY MARKETS: Techs trip over election, earnings

Larry Dignan
2 min read

Technology stocks continued to take a beating as the Nasdaq traded lower at midday Wednesday. The two culprits for the carnage were the two "E's" -- election and earnings.

Near midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 74.99 to 10,419 and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 90 points to 2,780. Volume was light ahead of Thanksgiving.

Election worries continued to hurt the markets. Late Tuesday, Democrat Al Gore's presidential campaign got a major boost as Florida's highest court ruled unanimously that state election officials must accept hand-counted presidential ballots from certain counties. Simply put, you'll have to wait next week for any indicator of who the President will be.

Compounding the election concerns were bottom line worries.

There were five main stocks to watch Wednesday and they were all plunging on financial results. Analysts were mixed their outlooks.

Portal Software's earnings easily topped estimates on the top and bottom lines, but shares were halved on concerns about future growth. Analysts were split with half of them reiterating "buy" ratings and others reacting with downgrades. Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF) was down 9.88 to 8.75.

Even after beating analyst expectations for the second quarter, CacheFlow (Nasdaq: CFLO) lost almost 38 percent Wednesday. Shares were off 29 to 47.7. Analysts were mixed on CacheFlow too. A few analysts noted that CacheFlow's outlook was less than stellar, which popped an already pricey stock.

Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) took a hit after ABM Amro downgraded the stock on revenue shifts. Intuit, however, topped estimates and most analysts were bullish about the upcoming quarter and outlook.

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) met expectations for its quarter, but investors weren't impressed. Novell was off 16 percent to 6.25.

And then there was e-mail marketer NetCreations (Nasdaq: NTCR), which cut its earnings and revenue estimates for the fourth quarter due to the slumping online advertising market. Shares were off nearly 6 percent to 5.65. DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK), which is acquiring NetCreations, fell 12 percent to 12. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), trading at its lowest point in two years, continued to slide on online ad worries. Yahoo was off 6 percent to 39.25.

Among other movers, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) lost 0.82 to 52.8, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was flat at 42.9, and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) slipped 2 percent to 66.3. Lucent (NYSE: LU) fell 6 percent to 16.5 and Nortel (NYSE: NT) was off slightly to 37.6.>