The high-tech rally promised by this morning's futures activity so far has failed to materialize, with major tech indices slightly lower as blue-chips head tentatively higher.
Before the open, the
futures were up 15 and indicated an even bigger bounce for tech stocks than for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
and other big-cap measures. The indication seemed to hold up at the open, which saw the
Nasdaq Composite Index
rise almost 11 to 1637 and the cash Nasdaq 100 rise more than 11 to 1074.
But then the early strength vanished like a fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich at
. By noon EST, the Comp was down more than 1 to 1625 and the Nasdaq 100 was down 3 to 1059. Nor was there pretty news on other major tech indices, with the
Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35
down more than 3 to 460 and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
down almost 3 to 309.
"It's very, very sloppy," said one tech-focused trader. "PCs are weak.
was halted for a while and now it's down, and
are down behind that.
not really holding up that well. There's definitely no conviction on the buy side."
was chopped 2 5/8, or 19%, to 11 1/4 after warning that its first-quarter net income would be "minimal," citing high inventories and price pressures. The 13-analyst
consensus estimate, now hastily being revised in firms all over Wall Street, called for a profit of 22 cents per share versus the year-earlier 27 cents. Among MUEI's fellow PC makers, Dell
was off 1 to 84 5/8, Compaq
was off 2 1/16 to 64 7/16 and
was off 1 3/8 to 29 1/16.
, it was down 1 3/16 to 36 7/16 despite late yesterday reporting fourth-quarter operating earnings 3 cents per share better than expected and despite guiding first-quarter estimates up by 3 cents. Other semiconductor-equipment makers suffered as well, with
down 2 9/16 to 45,
down 1 3/8 to 37 1/4 and
down 1 3/4 to 37 7/8.
Non-high-tech indices were faring better at midday, with the Dow up 33 to 7860, the broad
up 3 to 962 and the small-cap
up 1 to 437. Bonds were selling off modestly, with the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury rising to 6.07%.
One tech stock getting lots of attention (if not much movement) was
, which was second to Compaq on the
New York Stock Exchange's
most-active list. Unisys was unchanged at 14 9/16, but a whopping 5.8 million shares had changed hands by 12:03 p.m. -- 13.53 times yesterday's volume of 425,778. Most of the volume came from three big block trades: a 3,083,000-share block at 9:43 a.m. on the NYSE, on an uptick to 14 9/16; a 1,150,000-share block at 10:07 on the
Chicago Stock Exchange
, on an uptick to 14 9/16; and a 531,000-share block at 10:48 on the NYSE, on an uptick to 14 5/16. A Unisys spokesman didn't immediately return a call for comment.