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Cisco leads Nasdaq charge

The earnings performance of Cisco Systems leads networking stocks in propelling the Nasdaq index.

Bolstered by the earnings performance of Cisco Systems (CSCO), networking stocks today pushed up the Nasdaq index.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.27 points in afternoon trading from yesterday's close, to 1330.57. That upward momentum went against other major indexes, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Stock Index, and the New York Stock Exchange Composite, which were all down in trading earlier today.

Cisco, which in morning trading was the most actively traded Nasdaq stock with more than 11 million shares changing hands, was initially down in early trading before rebounding back by noon ET.

The networking giant, which serves as an industry bellwether, yesterday posted revenues and earnings that met Wall Street's expectations, despite some concern among investors that the company would fall short.

Other networking companies that got a boost and landed on Nasdaq's list of most actively traded stocks include 3Com (COMS) and Fore Systems (FORE).

Fore saw the greatest rise in its share price performance. The networking company recovered some lost ground after missing analysts' estimates with its fourth-quarter earnings last month. The company reported profits of $3.9 million, including a one-time charge.

Ascend (ASND), however, was down in morning trading.

The company, although it was one of the most active on Nasdaq, did not receive a lift like other networking stocks.

Furman Selz analyst Martin Pyykkonen, in a report, noted that Cisco has been aggressive in countering product performance claims by competitors, especially against Ascend's gigabit switch router (GSR).

Cisco today unveiled its own GSR product, its next-generation router, at the Interop '97 show. (See related story.)

Cascade Communications (CSCC), which in March announced it would be acquired by Ascend in a $3.7 billion deal, was largely flat in trading today.