Yucky, Icky, Iffy and Bad aren't friends of
-- they're apt descriptors of today's action in the tech end of the stock market.
For most of the day, markets rambled around the break-even point, slumping and sloughing off in the morning after opening strongly. An early afternoon rally failed to develop any traction, and the
Nasdaq Composite Index
ended up wandering into heavy losses when the closing bell rang. For the second day in a row, the Comp fell apart in the late afternoon, ending at session lows.
The Comp dropped 52.11 to 3689.11, led lower by
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
, which added another bad day to an already bad year. The DOT fell 24.49 to 739.84, a 3.2% drop. That brings the index's year loss to 400, a better-than-50% plummet. That's a really terrible Y2K, even when you don't consider that the DOT partied like it was 1999 in 1999, gaining 184% during a massive yearlong runup.
Within the Net names there was really only one safe haven,
. It's kinda sad, but the company was the only real sector gainer, rising 38 cents to $39 on news that it would be working with
to package its streaming media software with H-P's Unix servers.
Everything else looked awful. Among the smaller names, like
Walt Disney Internet Group
, heavy percentage losses were fairly common. Among the larger names, such as
, the losses were milder, but losses nonetheless.
Outside of Nets, other industries snagged their share of attention, like this little software company called
. Mister Softee bucked the badness, gaining $1.44 to $62.69 after the
U.S. Supreme Court
declined to hear its antitrust case, sending it to the appeals courts, which are seen as friendlier to the company's interests. Still, Microsoft didn't finish all that strongly. It was well off session highs at the close.
Still, it was a good thing that Microsoft had a good day, because the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
took a hit, dropping 176.83 to 10,631.32, as
blindsided markets, throwing 87 to the Dow's negative side. Not that H-P,
helped, either. The trio added a combined 43 to the losing effort.
Here. Let's have some smile time, huh? Not everything was garbage.
, a content-management platform company, was one of the Nasdaq's best issues, with a gain of $14.56, or 20%, to $85.88.
, two data-storage related companies, and
Research in Motion
, which makes wireless gizmos, were also some of the best four-lettered (think "Nasdaq") stocks.
And while we're doing good news, just look at
. The network management company's 10 million-share initial public offering went out today, priced at $23 by lead underwriter
. Unlike the geometric property for which it was named, CoSine was quite popular with the kids, nearly tripling in its debut. And that's
Goldman upped the price this morning, the third such increase. CoSine closed up $40.06 from where it was priced, or 174%, to $63.06.
So today was clearly a bad day, and a different kind of bad day than yesterday. Markets didn't break hearts and falter in the final hour, they just opened higher, slipped and never really made a serious push back into the green.
Today wasn't heartbreaking. No, tech names were already heartbroken. There is plenty of blame to go around, be it the crumbling euro, softening sales data or just the plain ol' slowing economy. And with earnings season dead ahead, it is hoped tech names will navigate themselves out of trouble.
And since this is
the end, my only friend, the end, let's give y'all something to look forward to this evening besides portfolio wound-licking, tape-delayed Olympics highlights and another dreadful installment of
will release earnings. Ahead of those data, the company fell $2.06 to $55.13. The 11-analyst earning call for this quarter is a 33-cent loss per share. That's much worse than last year's profit of 31 cents a share.
There, something to look forward to. Check out how 3Com does in after-hours trading in
Night Watch, a thrice-updated (and quite comprehensive) look at postclose trading.
10:42 a.m.: Signs of a Bloody Day
With the notable exception of
(not exactly a Pulse concern) stinking up the
Dow Jones Industrial Average, there weren't buckets of blood covering the market this morning.
But, there certainly were drops. Tech names were up early and recently receding, with the Net names mixed and the chipmakers, boxmakers and high techies around the break-even mark.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
, or DOT, was bouncing a bit higher, up 1 to 766, but that's not too bad all things considered. Or even
yesterday considered, when the Net index took a midday plunge along with the Comp and never came back. Today,
was hampering the DOT's gains, while
helped move it a touch higher.
Nasdaq Composite Index -- Comp to its friends -- was also moving higher this morning after opening nearly 30 points in the green. It was recently up 48 to 3789, as sellers and bargain-hunters tussle in early action.
Yesterday was a disappointment. After early strength receded at midday, gains were left out in the sun to wither during the afternoon and when the
final bell pealed, many major tech names and the Nasdaq were all at their session lows.
That's gonna leave a mark -- a
. The inkjet printer maker took a beating in early trading after warning about its second-half results after yesterday's bell. (In fact, the company took a
beating before the bell, too.) The company was last off $12.94 to $39.06.
Last night, Lexmark said its third- and fourth-quarter earnings would miss analyst expectations because of slow ink cartridge sales and the weak euro, which has become the stock answer to the query: "Why'd they miss earnings?"
The company said third-quarter earnings will come in between 45 and 50 cents a share, missing last year's 56 cents and the analysts' 60-cent pick. Fourth-quarter earnings will come in between 55 and 65 cents, missing last year's 73 cents and the expert's 80-cent call.
And like vultures over a carcass, the investors have circled Lexmark.
cut its rating to neutral from attractive, while
Credit Suisse First Boston
lowered its third-quarter earnings outlook to 45 cents a share from 60 cents a share. Bear Sterns analyst Andrew Neff said that Lexmark's fiscal problems were self-inflicted and that
should not be affected by the warning.
The investor response to the Lexmark warning? Insert shrug here. H-P took things in stride, gaining $2.50 to $101.38, as buyers isolate the damage to one company and not the entire sector. Analysts have helped, too, rushing to the company's side and reiterating their ratings.
reiterated its strong buy rating and $160 price target.
H-P has also announced that it would be working with
, using the company's audio and video software on its Unix servers, used by big companies. The duo will fuse RealNetwork's ability to stream media over the Internet (they make the
, competitor to
cleverly named "
Microsoft Media Player
") with H-P's products and services. RealNetworks rose $1.38 to $40.
Other whiz-bang computer gizmo builders weren't busted.
, maker of the anal-retentive
, made slight gains after announcing earnings that easily topped estimates. The company was last up $3.50 to $55.88, heading into the green after getting taken way down in both
after-hours trading. Palm's first-quarter earnings came in at 4 cents a share, better than last year's 2 cents and the analysts' 2-cent prediction.
Trigonometry is hard, people. Just don't tell
. The Calif.-based network management company will begin trading today. And things could really add up, if pricing is any indication. Its 10 million-share IPO was priced at $23 a share by lead underwriter
, which has been furiously repricing this IPO in recent days. This morning, CoSine's price was raised to $23, just days after it was placed in a range between $20 and $22. Originally, the shares were supposed to go out between $15 and $17.