Skip to main content

Some good earnings reports last night from tech and telecom bellwethers firecrackered stocks up at the open, taking the

Dow Jones Industrial Average back above the key 10,000 support level and whooshing the

Nasdaq Composite Index as much as 174 points higher. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq were lately hovering near their early highs.

Some were calling yesterday -- which saw the indices slip precariously near previous lows for 2000 -- a bottom and today the beginning of the next sprint higher. But others continue to counsel caution. The round of good reports is helping to alleviate fears of a slowdown in corporate earnings, and investors are hoping that optimism will hold until the close of today's market.

The good-news bearers last night included Internet kingfisher

America Online


, communications chipmaker



, and telecom heavy-hitter



, all of which reported better-than-expected numbers.




was responsible for much of the market's joy this morning. The software and applications titan reported stellar earnings last night after the close and had its earnings per share estimates upped by

Goldman Sachs


Merrill Lynch

. The company was


Dow favorite this morning, slapping some 47 points of upside on the index.

Lately trading 15.5% higher to $59.69, it was also the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq.

Goldman also raised its EPS estimates on Broadcom, while

ABN Amro

raised its rating on

Sun Microsystems


to buy from outperform and upped its 12-month price-target to $150 from $140. And

Bear Stearns

lifted its earnings per share for Sun. Broadcom was up 7.8%, while Sun was up 4.9%. Sun reported

strong earnings yesterday.

Other big babes on the Dow were yesterday's biggest point losers on the index, including

J.P. Morgan


, which was adding some 44 points to the index, and

Hewlett Packard


, which was lately adding about 16 points to the Dow. J.P. Morgan yesterday suffered the consequences of bad earnings from its future bed buddy

Chase Manhattan Bank


. J.P. Morgan was lately up 5.8% to $142. Chase, which was blamed for much of the market's early pain, was also rebounding, up 6.4% to $39.25.

On the Nasdaq,



continued an upswing it began yesterday following an upgrade from ABN Amro. The company reported earnings above its lowered expectations for the quarter Tuesday after the close.

In fact, many of the most-actives on the Nasdaq began to climb yesterday, including Sun, which was helped by this morning's upgrade and telecom



. Worldcom, in turn, was rising on Nokia's good news.


report of strong cell-phone handset sales was boosting the entire telecom sector today, after concern over a slowdown in this area had put immense pressure on telecom stocks since early September. Many of Nokia's competitors had earlier predicted slowing growth and diminishing margins in the mobile-phone market, but some analysts say Nokia has more credibility in the market. Nokia's profits for the period rose 43% to 1.34 billion euros ($1.13 billion), well above analysts' expectations of around 1.10 billion euros. Earnings per share increased to 0.19 euros compared with 0.14 euros a year ago. Nokia's net sales increased by 50% to 7.58 billion euros.

Back to top

Sector Watch

There were very few pockets of red on today's screen. But investors certainly weren't doing all of their buying with pocket money - some of it was coming out of other stocks, particularly some of yesterday's winners, the drug, gold and biotech stocks. The

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

was 2.8% lower to 405.4, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold & Silver Index

was off 0.6% to 44.11.


Nasdaq Biotechnology Index

, which has been rallying solidly for a week, was down 0.5% to 1224.7.

The semiconductors were rebounding nicely following Nokia's news, as it bodes well for chip demand, something analysts have been concerned about for months. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was lately up 11.6% to 722.6. The index has been backing and filling but trending heavily downward since early September.

Back to top


Following yesterday's erratic trading, the bond market was looking mixed today.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note was lately up 7/32 at 100 20/32, to yield 5.667%.

The 30-year

Treasury bondwas up 3/32, trading at 106 31/32 and yielding 5.757%.

Federal Reserve Chairman

Alan Greenspan addressed a

Cato Institute

conference on Monetary Policy in the New Economy this morning.

The speech had no clear implications for near-term monetary policy, but it was friendly in tone. He said the economy is experiencing a "sustained pickup in productivity growth" that should enable it to grow at a faster rate without generating inflation.

Greenspan spoke at length about the implications of the spike in oil prices, acknowledging again that high energy prices could slow growth by acting as a tax on consumers. He implied that slowing growth more likely is coming from high energy prices than from rising inflation expectations. "

The Fed will need to be on the alert for oil-driven, indeed, energy-driven, risks to our expansion."


Philadelphia Fed Index


definition |

chart |


) for October fell to -3.8 after a rise of 8.2 in September. The index was much weaker than expected and clearly suggests slowing economic performance.

The bond market continues to take its tone from the equities markets. A decline in stock markets typically leads to a rally in bonds and vice versa.

Back to top