Tech investors wait for Fed word

The Dow and the Nasdaq gain ground after a harrowing week, and investors snap up bargains and cover shorts ahead of the Fed meeting.

Margaret Kane Former Staff writer, CNET News
Margaret is a former news editor for CNET News, based in the Boston bureau.
Margaret Kane
2 min read
Investors sat tight Monday, waiting for the Federal Reserve to make a move Tuesday. The Dow and the Nasdaq gained ground after a harrowing week, and investors snapped up bargains ahead of the Fed meeting.

The Dow gained 135.7 points to close at 9,959.11, while the Nasdaq rose 60.52 points to close at 1,951.43.

"A lot of speculators are eyeing to buy on weakness, and it just seems like once they move, it creates a domino effect," said Charles Payne, head analyst at Wall Street Strategies.

Wall Street is split on how much the Fed might cut interest rates. A Reuters poll of 25 primary dealers of U.S. government securities has 13 predicting an unusually large 0.75 point cut and the other 12 calling for a 0.50 point reduction.

Fiber-optic giant Corning issued the third profit warning of the year, lowering estimates for 2001 while maintaining first-quarter projections. Shares slid $2.02, to $25.20, on the news. Corning blamed slower telecommunications spending and a sluggish economy for the shortfall.

Palm Computing denied charges it violated patents held by NCR, calling the case "without merit." Palm shares were up 75 cents to $14.31.

The suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Delaware, involves patents covering handheld devices that perform financial transactions such as shopping over the Internet. NCR also filed suit against Handspring for patent violations.

Struggling consulting firm Computer Sciences saw its shares bump up 48 cents to $3.18 after it detailed a fourth-quarter warning and layoff announcement.

The company told investors last week that it would miss estimates for the quarter. Today it blamed the shortfall on a slowdown in worldwide consulting and systems integration, sluggish sales to the health-care sector, and a few clients who are unable to pay bills. Competitor Electronic Data Systems gained $1.35 to $56.60, while IBM rose $2.38 to $92.48.

Lucent Technologies' shares jumped up $2, or 20 percent, to $11.99, after the company announced a $5 billion contract with Verizon Wireless. The three-year deal will make Lucent the largest supplier of Verizon Wireless' third-generation mobile-network infrastructure.

Among leading tech stocks, Microsoft shares lost 25 cents to $54.31, Oracle gained $1.38 to $15.44 and Sun Microsystems rose 88 cents to $19.06. Yahoo was up $1.38 to $14.94, and AOL Time Warner closed up 55 cents to $39.90.

Leading volume trades included Intel, off 81 cents to $27.06; Cisco Systems, up $1 to $20.94; WorldCom, up $1.06 to $18.50; and Nortel Networks, up 82 cents to $17.70.

Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.