Mixed Business

SAN FRANCISCO (01/27/2000) - Although not considered a pure Internet play, Qualcomm had perhaps more impact on the Internet sector Wednesday than traditional Net plays eBay and RealNetworks. And in tomorrow's session, Dell Computer Corp. could have as much influence as any Net stock.

Qualcomm, which develops wireless technology, closed down 24.38, or 16.4 percent, at 124.63 after warning that sales of its chips and phones may slow in the second quarter. Weakness in Qualcomm was a drag on the Nasdaq, which ended Wednesday down 97.5 points, or 2.34 percent, at 4069.91. This contributed to the decline seen elsewhere in the technology sector and among Internet stocks.

The Dow rose 3.1 points, or 0.03 percent, to 11032.99.

After the close, Dell fired a warning shot of its own, saying its upcoming earnings would be lower than expectations due to semiconductor supply problems and a slower-than-expected rebound in sales after now-dissipating Y2K concerns.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector index closed down a paltry 0.8 points at 1145.68, though the index did not give an accurate representation of the day's events because of the performance of index members eBay and RealNetworks. eBay finished up 16.06 at 153.56, while RealNetworks closed up 12 points at 169.88.

Gains in both companies came after reporting stellar earnings Tuesday night, while RealNetworks also benefited from a stock split announcement that took it to an intraday high of 181.5.

With the exception of a number of other companies that performed well post-earnings, the Net sector had a mixed session, with a negative bent. Yahoo, which led Tuesday's late charge higher, closed down 17 at 328.56, giving back much of Tuesday's 21-point gain. Amazon.com closed down 4.44 at 64.81, and has slipped back near the levels it was trading before Monday after analysts applauded the company for an expanded alliance with Drugstore.com and its new stake in online car-seller Greenlight.com. However, Priceline.com closed up 3.31 at 66.25 after the name-your-own-price Web site said it would expand into Asia later this year.

Among the day's other standouts was Vignette, which closed up 17.5 at 234 after a positive earnings report Tuesday and a subsequent upgrade from Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown to "strong buy" from "buy." Siebel Systems finished up 10.25 at 95.38, also on strong earnings.

However, CheckFree Holdings was a post-earnings disaster. It closed down 24 percent at 60.64 after delivering not-so-stellar numbers. The online billing services provider reported Tuesday that subscriber growth in its fiscal second quarter was flat, and also indicated that it may not reach its goal of 5 million subscribers by its fiscal year's end on June 30.

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