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Tech Industry

MARKET CLOSE: Stocks tread water ahead of earnings

Call it the same old story for a sluggish Columbus Day market waiting for this week's barrage of earnings.

"It's the same old technology stocks, the same old financials and and the same old drug stocks," said Larry Rice, of Josephthal Lyon & Ross.

Although some market indices gained ground Monday, rallies were concentrated in a very small handful of stocks, Rice said. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 29.39 to 2,915.96 and Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index advanced 27.47 to 5,193.98. The broader S&P 500 slipped 0.81 to 1,335.21 and the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.58 to 10,648.18.

Shares of software company i2 Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ITWO) jumped 3 to 51 15/16 after the company posted record third-quarter results and forecast a strong fourth quarter. Credit Suisse First Boston said it expects i2 to earn even more going forward than it previously forecast, and Robertson Stephens upgraded the stock to "buy" from "long-term attractive."

Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GBLX) was down 1 7/16 to 35 1/16 after it announced it was buying the telecom unit of Britain's Racal Electronics for $1.65 billion. Global Crossing and Qwest Communications (Nasdaq: QWST), up 1 19/32 to 38 1/16, have been subjects of merger speculation since last week's announcement of an MCI Worldcom-Sprint deal. MCI Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM) advanced 3 to 79 7/8 Monday.

Phone.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: PHCM) rose 25 1/16 to 205 after it said it will buy APiON Ltd, a Belfast, Northern Ireland-based telecommunications software company.

PeopleSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: PSFT), down 7/8 to 16 3/8, is snapping up Vantive Corporation (Nasdaq: VNTV), in a stock for stock transaction worth about $433 million. Vantive rose 3 to 11 15/16 despite simultaneous news it will miss estimates in the third quarter by about 16 cents a share.

Shares of Ask Jeeves Inc. (Nasdaq: ASKJ) leapt 17 7/8 to 68 5/16 after the online butler struck a new deal with Microsoft to answer support questions for Windows 98. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) slipped 5/8 to 94 5/16.

Knight/Trimark Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: NITE), a company which processes online trades, fell 3 39/64 to 26 3/8 after it warned it expects to miss expectations for its third quarter earnings due to lower sequential trading volume. The company said earnings will be about 17 to 19 cents a share, well below First Call's prediction of 30 cents a share.

Shares of Hi/fn Inc. (Nasdaq: HIFN) were recovering on strong volume, up 12 5/16 to 50 1/16, after plunging another 49 percent on Friday after it forecast lower-than-expected fiscal first-quarter revenues. PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq:PMCS), up 2 1/2 to 92, and Vitesse Semicondcutor (Nasdaq: VTSS), up 6 1/16 to 88 7/16, were also recovering Monday.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) gained 13/16 to 76 1/2 the day before its scheduled third quarter report.

Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) continued to deflate after last week's post-earnings climb. The stock slid 10 1/2 to 181 5/8.

Among other active tech stocks, Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) rose 13/16 to 46 1/16, Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) skipped up 1/8 to 21 7/8, and a recent IPO, network technology provider Radware (Nasdaq: RDWR), gained 10 15/16 to 41 7/8.