Nasdaq: The Forecast Calls for Pain

SAN FRANCISCO (04/14/2000) - People stuck in the Stone Age who open up their newspapers tomorrow morning will see that the Nasdaq was down another 90 points and think it was more of the same old thing. But hip Internet readers will know long before then that it was not more of the same thing and that, in fact, the Nasdaq was up for much of the session until a late slide.

The Nasdaq did end down 92.85, or 2.46 percent, at 3676.78. The index appears destined to push to 3649.11, the low point during the roller-coaster ride that was April 4. But losses in the technology sector didn't pick up until the final half-hour of trading, and for much of the day, the Nasdaq was holding a triple-digit gain. It rose as high as 3914.68 and showed some signs of stability before bears once again wrested control of the market.

The sector got off to a positive start, due in part to some solid earnings reports from Ariba, Redback Networks and Ameritrade. But the market is not overly focused on earnings, and traders took advantage of the gains to get out of positions that have been hurt over the past few sessions.

Business-to-business plays remained among the most beaten-up stocks.

WebMethods closed down $50.31, or 36 percent, at $90.69 and has lost nearly 50 percent of its value in the past two sessions. FreeMarkets closed down $19.94, or 27 percent, at $55. The aforementioned Ariba ended down $6.94, or 9.6 percent, at $65.06 after trading as high as $79.75, and Phone.com slid $23.50, or 25 percent, to $72. Juniper Networks ended down $29.13, or 14 percent, at $175 ahead of its earnings report after the close. It also announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Among traditional Net plays, Yahoo tried to continue its recovery, trading as high as $148.13. But it ended roughly unchanged at $136.13, a decline of 6 cents. Among other traditional Net plays, Amazon.com dropped $8.75, or 15 percent, to $48, and America Online slipped $4, or 6 percent, at $58.50.

Inktomi fell $12.43, or 10 percent, to $110.56. Unlike the past few sessions, there were no signs that investors were bailing out of tech in favor of blue chips. The Dow dropped 201.58 points, or 1.81 percent, and was under pressure for much of the day. Although buying in the Nasdaq is anticipated at about the 3649.11 low from last week, some technical analysts are still looking for losses to extend to at least the 3000 level.

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More about Amazon.comAmerica OnlineAmeritradeAribaInktomiJuniper NetworksRedback NetworksWebMethods AustraliaYahoo

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