Nasdaq Washes That Bear Right Out of Its Hair

SAN FRANCISCO (04/17/2000) - Don't feel too sorry for the stock market just yet.

The Nasdaq was up 6.5 percent today, gaining 217.76 to 3,539.05. The Dow rose almost 3 percent, to 10582.51.

Before we go any further, let's review. A few weeks ago, respected market analysts worried that technology stocks were overvalued. Investors actually agreed; they slowly began to sell. Then last week, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed concern about inflation, and this raised the specter of another hike in interest rates. Investors began to sell more quickly. On Friday the Nasdaq capped a week of losses by falling 10 percent in one day.

What did investors do? After a weekend of holding their breath, they went out and drove the market right back up again, to the tune of 6.5 percent.

Ladies and gentlemen, keep expecting the unexpected.

Today's market was volatile, and the gain was led mostly by a few notable large-cap companies from the Nasdaq and Dow industrials. But it was a gain nonetheless, as bargain shoppers won out over panicked sellers.

The Nasdaq rose on large gains by Oracle Corp., up 17 percent to US$74.18, and Cisco Systems Inc., up 16 percent to $66.50. Intel Corp. gained 11 percent to $123 on expectations of positive earnings news tomorrow. Sun Microsystems Inc. rose 11 percent to $85.25. IBM Corp. was up 6 percent to $111.75, and even Microsoft Corp. gained, rising 2 percent to $75.62.

Nor did all of the Internet high-fliers sit this one out. CMGI was up 24 percent today to close at $65. JDS Uniphase rose 23 percent, closing at $98.

Qualcomm was up 11 percent to $116.87. Priceline.com remained a loser, however, dropping nearly 11 percent to close at $52.25.

Business-to-business player Commerce One was up 6 percent to $70.12, though its sector mate Ariba fared less well. Ariba lost 13 percent to close at $53.81.

VA Linux enjoyed a whopping 18 percent rise and closed at $34.25. And Micron Technology soared 17 percent to $112.44.

The Dow enjoyed a nice run-up today as well, led by Procter & Gamble, which jumped 8 percent to $68.44. Hewlett-Packard was another big gainer, up 7 percent to $48.37. MCI WorldCom gained 5 percent to $40.12, and IBM was up 4 percent to $109.50. Exxon-Mobil was a downer for the Dow today, dropping 4 percent to $75.44. Financials were strong today as well, as Citigroup, DLJ Direct and J.P. Morgan each gained nearly 2 percent.

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