It's fitting that as
preseason camps begin this week, a confluence of factors piled on and tackled technology stocks.
A couple of rough earnings reports from high-profile companies, an earnings warning from another and some unexpectedly strong economic data were saddling the
with a triple-digit loss. The
ended the day down 145.47, or 3.7%, at 3842.25. A strong
durable goods report overshadowed a tame
Employment Cost Index report this morning and kept open the debate over
Finnish mobile-phone operator
closed down 14 7/16, or 26%, at 41 3/8 and sent ripples throughout the wireless phone market after the company
warned that its third-quarter earnings will fall short of its just-released second-quarter numbers.
got pummeled after reporting quarterly numbers last night, closing down 4 11/16, or 13%, at 31 3/8, and had traded to a new 52-week low of 29 3/4. The online retailer received numerous downgrades following its quarterly numbers last night, including one from
Henry Blodget (see comments below). Our own
went beyond the numbers in an
analysis of Amazon that ran earlier today.
One of the more interesting notes on Amazon's quarter came from
Salomon Smith Barney
, which did not change its buy (high risk) rating on Amazon. Granted, analyst Tim Albright did not have the luxury of seeing the rest of the downgrades of Amazon when he wrote his note, but in lieu of what did occur, Albright could not have been more wrong. (Salomon has done underwriting for Amazon.)
Albright wrote that Amazon reported results "that were good enough to remove much of the negative sentiment and get the Street focused on the upside in the coming quarters." He goes on to say that "in a tough Q2 Amazon's results were better than the disaster the market was expecting. This should cause relief for some (and pain for others) as sentiment shifts with the potential in the coming quarters."
But not to be outdone was
analyst Tom Wyman, who noted that Amazon's revenue of $578 million was "just shy of our estimate" of $603.6 million. Interesting. And he goes on to say that Amazon would have hit his revenue estimates were it not for all of the "negative press" surrounding e-tailing in the quarter. J.P. Morgan has not done underwriting for Amazon.
Amazon's woes likely had some impact among other traditional Net plays.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index closed down 44.06, or 5.7%, at 734.89.
closed down 2 13/16, or 10%, at 25 13/16, while
ended down 3, or 5.7%, at 49 11/16.
It was a tough day to figure out whether the tough market conditions were responsible for losses in some stocks that reported earnings, or there was disappointment in the numbers. A number of business-to-business stocks were leveled after they delivered their results, though they all bested earnings-per-share estimates.
closed down 17 3/8, or 13%, at 115 3/4 despite reporting a narrower-than-expected loss for the second quarter. Note that webMethods traded as high as 194 7/8 on July 17.
closed down 8 11/16, or 15%, at 48 1/16. There may have been some concern that the company did not meet whisper numbers for revenue growth. And
closed down 5 3/16, or 12%, at 38 3/4 after losing 20% in advance of its numbers yesterday.
10:57 a.m.: Amazon.com's Troubles Deepen, Stock Slumping on Downgrades
It didn't look like it could get much worse for
after it was downgraded ahead of its earnings report. But it did.
Post-earnings, Amazon.com was downgraded by a number of analysts, including the one most associated with the company,
Henry Blodget. Blodget downgraded his intermediate-term rating on Amazon to accumulate from buy and dropped both his earnings and revenue estimates for Amazon going out.
"The Amazon story continues to transition from growth to earnings -- and because growth has slowed even more than expected, this transition will likely require more patience than we had hoped," writes Blodget. "The good news is that operating efficiency continues to improve, and the company's cash position is strong."
Amazon beat market estimates with a 33-cent loss versus 35-cent loss estimate for its
second-quarter, but revenues of $578 million missed Blodget's estimate of $585 million and were up just 1% sequentially. Despite the downgrade, Blodget still expects a positive move in the stock in the fourth quarter driven by enthusiasm surrounding holding sales and an improved sentiment toward e-commerce. Blodget made a name for himself in 1998 when he placed a 400
price target on Amazon while he was at
. The stock subsequently topped that level (on a post-split basis), making Blodget king of Internet analysts.
downgraded Amazon to hold from accumulate with a 40 price target;
downgraded it to buy from strong buy;
downgraded it to long-term attractive from buy; while
Pacific Crest Securities
downgraded it to market perform from strong buy.
A number of business-to-business plays were also moving following their earnings.
was down 13.4% despite besting estimates. The company
reported a 23-cent loss vs. the 30-cent loss estimate. While VerticalNet showed 95% sequential revenue growth, revenues of $53.6 million were slightly below the whisper number for revenues of $55 million.
Among other B2B plays that reported last night,
was down 16.2% despite reporting a narrower than expected loss for the second quarter. The business-to-business, XML-software provider reported a loss of 16 cents a share, which bested estimates of a 19-cent loss. Losses in the stock most likely reflected market conditions, though the stock is one of the most volatile in the space due to a relatively small float.
was faring better, trading 4.4% after far-surpassing estimates. Clarus, which sells software that enables businesses to buy and sell products from other businesses, posted a loss of 36 cents a share, excluding charges vs. the 43-cent estimate. Joe "B2B" Bousquin took a closer
look at both Clarus and webMethods following their reports last night.
, which fell 20% in advance of its numbers yesterday, was down another 8.8% today. Its loss of 24 cents a share was better than the 27-cent estimate from
First Call/Thomson Financial
, a financial news service that broadcasts its reports over the Internet, was reporting that Kana had released its report to some market analysts before the market had opened on Wednesday.
Finally, there was a merger in the Internet sector that was moving the principles.
was down 24.4% after it said it would buy
in a stock deal valued at $2.7 billion. Go2Net was up 3.8%.
Under terms of the deal, InfoSpace will exchange 1.82 shares of its stock for every share of Go2Net's 30.7 million shares. Based on InfoSpace's closing stock price Wednesday, the deal would value Go2Net at $86.91 a share, a 44% premium over its stock price.