Internet stocks picked up ground Wednesday but blue-chip stocks took a beating as the Dow Jones industrial average fell 74 points to close at 10,524.07 and the Nasdaq moved up 37 points to finish at 2,858.17.
Analysts said the sagging markets were approaching key technical support levels on Wednesday. Concern focused on the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, which slipped through the 1,300-point support level, then made a slight rally.
"What we see in this market is a parade of horribles," said Alan Ackerman, senior vice president and market strategist at Fahnestock and Co. "There is concern about the trade gap, concern about weakness in the dollar, concern over interest rates, and general weakness underlying on the technical side -- decliners continue to lead advancers."
Three initial public offerings made quite an impression Wednesday as E.piphany (Nasdaq: EPNY) closed up 29 3/16 to 45 3/16 and Broadbase Software Inc. (Nasdaq: BBSW) shot up 13 1/4 to 27 1/4 in their debuts. Kana Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: KANA) rocketed up 36 1/2 to 51 1/2.
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) hustled up 9 15/16 to 179 1/2. America Online Inc. (AOL) added 6 3/16 to 91 1/16 and Lycos Inc. (LCOS) picked up 3/4 to 46 7/8. Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) rose 1 21/32 to 38 5/16 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) gained 3 3/4 and 3/4 a share, respectively.
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) said Wednesday it will buy privately-held WebLine Communications for $325 million in stock, to bolster development of its open software platform for enterprise and service provider customers. Its shares closed up 1 1/8 to 72 1/4.
3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) was the most active stock on the Nasdaq, gaining 1 5/16 to 28 5/8 after yesterday's report of better-than-expected earnings. Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) closed up 1/8 to 67 3/8.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) fell 7/16 to 46 1/16; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) inched up 1/16 to 23 7/16; Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) gained 1 1/16 to 70 5/16 and Gateway Inc. (GTW) lost 2 1/4 to close at 48 7/16.
In its first earnings report as a public company, Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) lost 4 1/8 to 108 1/4 after it reported a second quarter loss in line with expectations Wednesday as sales jumped 95 percent from a year ago.
Intel Corp. (INTC) rose 13/16 to 82 13/16. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) moved up 7/16 to 18 15/16 and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) lost 1 15/16 to 125 3/16.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) tacked on 1 7/16 to 96 1/16 and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) closed up 1 3/16 to 45 11/16.