Friday: Fore Systems Defies Logic -- and Its Peers -- and Rises

Author:
Publish date:

By John J. Edwards III
Staff Reporter

As the tech-burdened

Nasdaq Composite Index

and other major indices continue their recent weakness today, the once-go-go networking sector is playing right along.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

,

Ascend

(ASND) - Get Report

,

Cascade

(CSCC)

,

3Com

(COMS)

-- you name it. If it makes equipment that lets computers talk amongst themselves, it's left investors more than just a little

verklempt

.

Oh, and let's not forget

Fore Systems

(FORE)

. A dog among dogs, Fore late

yesterday reported fourth-quarter operating earnings of 9 cents per share, missing the

First Call

expectation of 11 cents but meeting the low end of the range it preannounced April 1. And while Cisco is down 24% from Dec. 31 through yesterday, Ascend is down 33% and Cascade is down 49%, Fore has shed a whopping 65%. Only

Shiva

(SHVA)

, with a 79% collapse, has done worse in the networking sector.

So today, of course, Fore is ¿ up?

Strange as it sounds, Fore is bucking its peers' downswing. Shortly before noon, it was up 1/4 to 11 7/8, having traded as high as 12 5/8. Though it couldn't be confirmed, it looks like positive comments from

Goldman Sachs

may be behind the rally. A trader said the comments came in a post-earnings conference call, but Goldman didn't immediately return a call for comment.

A Goldman endorsement would swim against the tide of recent analyst action on Fore.

Schroder Wertheim

, for example, on Tuesday downgraded the stock from outperform significantly to perform in line.

But whatever else one might say about Fore, it certainly has a lot of room on the upside. Its close at 11 5/8 yesterday was a 52-week low. CEO Eric Cooper says he's not too worried anyway, remarking recently that he's "not concerned about pleasing momentum-minded investors." No problem there, Mr. Cooper.

Full disclosure:

The Street

ran an upbeat story about Fore's growth prospects

Jan. 10 when it was trading around 33.