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Brocade, Ciena earnings enliven tech shares

The Nasdaq and the Dow rise in early afternoon trading, as semiconductor shares and positive earnings news help drive tech stocks higher.

Earnings news helped drive tech stocks higher in early afternoon trading today.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 62.86 to 3,924.06, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 16.17 to 1,496.02. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.01 to 11,060.40.

"The Nasdaq is higher because the semiconductor index continues to roll along," said Larry Wachtel, a market analyst at Prudential Securities.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index rose 27.38, or nearly 3 percent, to 1,100.75, led by Teradyne, which gained $3.38 to $63.19. The index has gained nearly 16 percent during the past six days.

The CNET tech index climbed 30.99 to 3,205.62. Advancers outpaced decliners, with 64 of the 97 stocks in the index rising, 30 falling and three remaining unchanged.

Of the 18 sectors tracked by CNET Investor, semiconductor equipment makers posted the sharpest gains, climbing 3 percent. PC hardware manufacturers were the day's largest losers, falling 2 percent.

Brocade Communications Systems rose $7.63 to $204.38 after the company said fiscal third-quarter profit rose more than 12-fold on surging sales of high-speed computer switches for data-storage networks.

Ciena shares rose $10.94 to $174.19 after the maker of equipment to boost capacity on fiber-optic networks said fiscal third-quarter profit rose on new product sales and predicted fourth-quarter and 2001 earnings will beat forecasts.

Semiconductor equipment maker Amtech Systems rose for a second day, gaining $6, or 60 percent, to $16. The company said it received a $6.4 million order for 11 diffusion furnace systems from an unidentified telecommunications company. It's the company's largest order.

Investors gave Hewlett-Packard the cold shoulder, sending the stock down $11.81, or almost 10 percent, to $109.06 after the company reported earnings that beat expectations. Revenue was "a little light," according to a research note by PaineWebber analyst Don Young, who cut fourth-quarter earnings estimates from $1.03 to $1.01 a share.

HP reported earnings of 97 cents a share, beating analyst forecasts of 85 cents as surveyed by First Call, but the tech giant received a significant boost of 9 cents a share from nonoperating income items.

Covad Communications fell $1.13 to $13.50 and set a new 52-week low of $13.38. The provider of high-speed Internet access traded as high as $66.66 during the same period.

StarMedia Network, an Internet company that targets Latin America, fell 75 cents to $10.38, a new 52-week low compared with the stock's high of $61.