Even a Rally Can Be Scary During Halloween Month - TheStreet

Even a Rally Can Be Scary During Halloween Month

Strong earnings continue to bolster the markets, but don't cross in front of any black cats.
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Stocks bounced higher this morning after

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

handed out a tech earnings treat

last night. Spooked investors, though, know there are still plenty of other economic tricks to worry about, namely that scary inflation monster lurking in the closet.

Amid a somewhat subdued rally across major proxies, the tech-laden

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 60 to 2749. Smiling alongside Mister Softee, were tech-bedfellows

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

up 5.6%, and

BroadVision

(BVSN) - Get Report

also up 5.5%. BroadVision had some good news of its own last night, reporting that its third-quarter profits had more than doubled.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was also on the rise, up 13 to 692, with a little help from friends,

America Online

(AOL)

up 2.8% and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

up 1.1%.

The optimism was spreading to the oft-battered financial sector, where

Chase Manhattan Bank

(CMB)

was climbing 4%, and

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

up 2.8%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

was climbing 1.6%.

The upside is a nice remedy for those worrisome falls last week, but some market watchers say this short-term amity is merely masking, not erasing, some viable underlying concerns.

Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at

George K. Baum

in Kansas City, called the recent comeback a "too much, too fast emotional rally." Belski described the recently manic market moves as a "classic tug-of-war between the buy on the dip

investors and the fundamental underpinnings that were bringing the market to a corrective state."

Indeed, as much as most people would like to dismiss last Friday's

Producer Price Index

report, it still lends weight to the idea that the

Fed

will raise rates when it meets again in November, which tends to put a damper on earnings news, however cheery they may be.

Belski points out that market internals are turning "sloppy" again and notes that the bond market is not cooperating with stocks as a selloff continues to test last week's high yields. The benchmark 30-year Treasury bond was lately unchanged, its yield at 6.35%.

As for internals, advancers and decliners were slugging it out on the

New York Stock Exchange

with 1,341 issues on the rise and 1,451 heading south on 482 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

leaders were beating laggards 1,901 to 1,575 on 568 million shares. New lows were trouncing new highs 228 to 12, on the Big Board, while on the Nasdaq, new lows were 89 to 49 new highs.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 80 to 10,285, while the broader

S&P 500

was up 14 to 1275. The

Russell 2000

was up 0.13 to 411.

Wednesday's Midday Watchlist

By Tara Murphy
Staff Reporter

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates are from First Call/Thomson Financial.)

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

after the close posted better-than-expected earnings. Mister Softee reported fiscal first-quarter operating earnings of 38 cents a share, 4 cents ahead of the 27-analyst

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus estimate. Shares of Microsoft were jumping 4 11/16, or 5.4%, to 90 15/16.

TheStreet.com

wrote about Microsoft's earnings in a story

last night.

America Online

(AOL)

is expected to report earnings today. The First Call 32-analyst estimate calls for AOL to earn 13 cents a share. Shares of AOL were bouncing 2 7/8 to 118 1/8.

Bausch & Lomb

(BOL)

was advancing 2 1/4 to 57 1/4 after it said it doesn't know the reason for its stock's swoon since posting earnings last week. The company said it's comfortable with the consensus estimate for earnings in 2000. The 11-analyst estimate calls for the company to earn $3.08 a share in 2000.

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

was falling 13/16 to 63 1/8 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share, in line with the 17-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 69 cents.

BellSouth

(BLS)

was stumbling 7/16 to 42 3/16 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 51 cents a share, beating both the 16-analyst estimate of 50 cents and the year-ago 41 cents a share, which included a depreciation and amortization charge.

Burlington Resources

(BR) - Get Report

was mounting 1/8 to 36 15/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, a penny shy of the 27-analyst estimate. The company posted earnings of 8 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Chase

(CMB)

was jumping 3 1/16 to 74 3/16 after it reported third-quarter earnings of $1.37 a share, a nickel ahead of the 20-analyst First Call consensus estimate and up from the year-ago 82 cents.

Covad Communications

(COVD)

was gaining 1 1/4 to 41 1/8 after it posted a third-quarter loss of 70 cents a share, narrower than the eight-analyst estimate of a 79-cent loss and the year-ago $1.84 loss.

Dime Bancorp

(DME)

was advancing 3/16 to 16 1/2 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, in line with the 13-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 56 cents.

EMC

(EMC)

was sliding 2 3/8 to 67 1/16 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 29 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the 20-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 19 cents.

Fleet Boston

(FLT) - Get Report

was unchanged at 37 9/16 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 74 cents a share, a penny ahead of the 11-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 52 cents.

Fort James

(FJ)

was unchanged at 24 9/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, 1 cent ahead of the 10-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 66 cents.

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

was climbing 13/16 to 53 1/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 90 cents a share, a penny higher than the 12-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 78 cents.

Harrah's Entertainment

(HET)

was adding 13/16 to 27 1/2 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share, better than the 20-analyst estimate of 50 cents and the year-ago 44 cents.

Jostens

(JOS)

was slipping 1/16 to 19 after it reported a third-quarter loss of 21 cents a share, narrower than the two-analyst estimate of a 22-cent loss but down from the year-ago loss of 20 cents.

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

was falling 4 5/8, or 6.8%, to 65 3/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share, in line with the 23-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 46 cents.

Liz Claiborne

(LIZ)

was climbing 1 to 36 13/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of $1.08 per share, beating both the 13-analyst estimate of $1.03 and the year-ago 96 cents.

MindSpring

(MSPG)

was skidding 9/16 to 26 1/8 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the nine-analyst estimate, but down from the year-ago 9 cents.

Nabors Industries

(NBR) - Get Report

was losing 3/16 to 22 1/8 after it posted third-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, below the 17-analyst estimate of 5 cents and the year-ago 27 cents.

Republic New York

(RNB)

was tumbling 1/8 to 61 13/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of $1.15 per share, beating both the five-analyst estimate of 99 cents and the year-ago loss of 96 cents, which included a loss on a Russian investment.

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

was slipping 1/16 to 45 15/16 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, in line with the 22-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 29 cents.

J.P. Morgan

initiated coverage of the stock with a buy rating.

Southdown

(SDW)

was retreating 2 5/8 to 49 15/16 after it posted third-quarter earnings of $1.78 per share, missing the six-analyst estimate of $1.84 but up from the year-ago $1.70 a share.

Tellabs

(TLAB)

was mounting 2 1/2 to 58 after it reported third-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, a penny better than the 29-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 23 cents.

Offerings and stock actions

Sycamore Networks

(SCMR)

is betting it can push the current vogue for networking IPOs to new heights. The company just boosted its projected price range to $35 to $37 a share from $18 to $20, according to a filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

The Chelmsford, Mass., company continues to plan an offering size of 6.5 million shares, through lead underwriter

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

. The IPO is set to start trading Friday.

TheStreet.com's

IPO columnist,

Ben Holmes

, says the boost in range is the largest he can recall seeing.

Viacom

(VIA) - Get Report

is scuttling -- at least for now -- its plan to split off its

Blockbuster

(BBI) - Get Report

video-rental chain because of the poor performance of Blockbuster's stock and Viacom's proposed acquisition of

CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. Shares of Viacom were up 1/16 to 40 3/4, while Blockbuster was sliding 5/8 to 14.

Separately, Blockbuster posted third-quarter earnings of 14 cents a share, a penny better than the eight-analyst estimate and matching the year-ago report.

Bsquare

(BSQR) - Get Report

was climbing 8 7/8, or 59%, to 23 3/4 after making its trading debut.

Credit Suisse First Boston

priced the 4-million share IPO above-range at $15.

Crossroads

(CRDS)

was unchanged at 16 1/4 in first day of trading.

SG Cowen

priced the 3.75 million-share IPO at $18.

Analyst actions

SG Cowen upped its fiscal 1999 estimates on BroadVision to 56 cents a share from 51 cents and its fiscal 2000 estimates to 67 cents a share from 62 cents. Shares of BroadVision were leaping 9 1/2, or 6%, to 167 1/2.

Robertson Stephens

initiated coverage of

AES

(AES) - Get Report

with a buy rating. AES was climbing 13/16 to 53 9/16.

Merrill Lynch

sliced its intermediate-term rating on

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

to accumulate from buy. Bristol Myers was falling 2 5/16 to 73 13/16.

First Albany

upped its rating on

Computer Associates

(CA) - Get Report

to accumulate from neutral. Computer Associates was leaping 3 5/8, or 6.6%, to 58 1/8.

Robertson Stephens rolled out coverage of

Dynegy

(DYN)

with a buy rating. Dynegy shares were mounting 1/4 to 21 9/16.

Credit Suisse First Boston cut its rating on

Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Report

to hold from buy. Hormel was slipping 7/16 to 44 5/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

cut its rating on

PG&E

(PCG) - Get Report

to outperform from strong buy. Shares of PG&E were sliding 1 to 22 1/8.

Lehman raised its price target on

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

to 130 from 120. RealNetworks was stumbling 3 7/16 to 99 7/8.

Warburg Dillon Read

raised its rating on

Telemex

(TMX)

to strong buy from hold. Telemex was climbing 13/16 to 77 5/16.

Merrill added

Tyco International

(TYC)

to its Focus One list as the top pick in its multi-industry category.

TSC

wrote about the recent controversy swirling around Tyco in a

story last week. Tyco was adding 4 5/16, or 5.1%, to 88 13/16.

Merrill upgraded

United Technologies

to long-term buy. United Technology shares were adding 1 3/4 to 55 3/8.