Midday Report: Nasdaq Treads Water as Techs Attempt Rebound

Technology stocks traded at mixed levels at midday Tuesday, with news of weak results and confirmation of massive layoffs at bellwether Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) offset by benign economic news and optimism about a market rebound.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.81 to 1,913.38 in early afternoon trading. During the morning, the index traded as low as 1,869.34 and as high as 1,941.57.

Cisco, down 85 U.S. cents at $16.35, was the most active issue, falling after confirming plans to lay off as many as 8,500 workers and warning that results for its fiscal third quarter will be below analyst expectations.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), meanwhile, fell 54 cents to $25.76, and Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) slipped 43 cents to $15.91.

Tech Gainers

However, other tech bellwethers managed to eke out gains. Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) was up 97 cents at $49.35; Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), was up 30 cents at $16.26; and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), was up 47 cents at $61.26.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 1.15 to 1,180.83, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 18.28 at 10,140.28.

Quarterly Results Mixed

Quarterly earnings reports continued to trickle in, with mixed results. Sprint (NYSE: FON) was down $1 at $22.41, while its Sprint PCS affiliate (NYSE: PCS) was up $1.25 at $24.25. Both companies reportedly missed analyst estimates for the quarter.

Unisys (NYSE: UIS) was down $2.60 at $11.65. The company reported quarterly results that were in line with expectations, but warned that a weak economy would keep orders for computer systems low in the months ahead.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) was down 66 cents at $16.96, even after announcing it had selected a new chief executive. Terry Semel, who formerly served as co-CEO and chairman of Warner Brothers, will replace Tim Koogle, who announced March 7th that he would step down.

Webvan Down, Amazon Up

The E-Commerce Times Index was down 2 percent at midday, afflicted by a 20 percent decline in Webvan (Nasdaq: WBVN). Webvan, down 2 cents at 8 cents, lost its chief executive officer Friday when George Shaheen resigned.

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) was up 40 cents at $14.43 after Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto repeated a market outperform rating on the stock, saying results at the e-tail giant should begin to improve after the first quarter.

The day’s economic news provided a morning lift to the stock market. The U.S. Department of Labor said that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in March, in line with expectations, and the U.S. Federal Reserve said industrial production rose during the month for the first time since September.

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