Tech Stocks Still Kicking

The Nasdaq adds 0.5% to close just below its 2005 high.
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Updated from 4:05 p.m. EDT

The

Nasdaq's

(NASDAQ)

run at a new high for 2005 fell short Tuesday, as optimism about technology earnings was tempered by disappointments in other sectors.

Still, the tech index was the day's best performer, gaining 9.25 points, or 0.43%, to end at 2175.99, just shy of its 2005 closing high of 2179.7. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

I:DJI

, meanwhile, fell 16.71 points, or 0.16%, to 10,579.77, weighed down by a 6.6% loss in

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

. The

S&P 500

(SPX)

added 2.13 points, or 0.17%, to 1231.16.

"It

was all earnings-based today, setting the tone," said Jay Suskind, head of institutional equity trading with Ryan Beck & Co. "Overall, it's just a continuation of the quiet summer trading with a decent tone to it. Until the market breaks out of the trading range, I just expect us to hover around without substantial earnings or economic news."

Trading volume on the

New York Stock Exchange

was 1.47 billion shares, while volume on the Nasdaq was 1.69 billion shares. Advancers beat decliners 3 to 2.

In other markets, the 10-year Treasury bond was up 4/32 in price to yield 4.23%, while the dollar was higher against the yen and euro. Oil continued higher ahead of Wednesday's inventory report, with September crude finishing up 20 cents to $59.20 a barrel.

DuPont was the worst performer on the Dow after the company said quarterly earnings roughly doubled to $1.02 billion, or $1.01 a share. Excluding nonrecurring items, earnings were 90 cents a share. The Thomson First Call consensus was for earnings of 96 cents a share. DuPont fell $2.89, or 6.6%, to $41.15.

The Dow was briefly positive after news that General Motors Acceptance, the financial services unit of GM, plans to sell up to $55 billion worth of retail automotive contracts to

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

over a five-year period. GM was the Dow's best performer, adding $1.09, or 3%, to $36.96.

Stronger sectors Tuesday included telecom services, health care, technology, semiconductors and biotech. Materials, energy and drugs were among weaker performing areas.

Stocks fell Monday as a host of mixed earnings news couldn't sustain the market's recent run-up. The Dow fell 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.6%.

"Much of the recent move has involved the cyclical along with the information technology shares," said Robert Pavlik, portfolio manager with Oaktree Asset Management. "Yesterday's market move appeared to be short-term profit-taking, although I think we have to wait and see if it plays out into something more."

The tone changed after hours when

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

said second-quarter earnings were up 42% to $628 million, or 38 cents a share, on flat revenue of $3.24 billion. Adjusted earnings were 32 cents a share, beating the 29-cent Thomson First Call consensus.

For the third quarter, TI expects earnings of 31 cents to 35 cents a share and sales of $3.29 billion to $3.56 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of 32 cents a share on sales of $3.36 billion. The company also expanded a share repurchase and raised its annual dividend to 12 cents from 10 cents. TI was higher by $1.70, or 5.6%, to $32.30.

Another chipmaker,

Taiwan Semiconductor

(TSM) - Get Report

, said second-quarter earnings fell 21.5% from a year ago to $577 million, beating estimates. The company raised its shipment guidance for the year. Taiwan Semiconductor was down 32 cents, or 3.6%, to close at $8.69.

After the bell Tuesday,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of $52 million, or 12 cents a share, down from $76 million, or 18 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose 26% to $1.75 billion in the quarter. Amazon.com was expected to earn 10 cents a share on sales of $1.7 billion, according to Thomson First Call. Amazon.com closed at $37.74, down 21 cents before the earnings release.

Oil giant

BP

(BP) - Get Report

posted a 29% rise in second-quarter earnings to $4.98 billion, or 23 cents a share, on a 23% rise in sales to $87.8 billion. On a normalized "clean replacement-cost basis," BP earned $5.81 billion in the quarter, about $200 million better than expected. BP was lower by $1.38, or 2.1%, to $65.50.

Valero Energy

(VLO) - Get Report

reported the highest quarterly net income in its history, earning $847 million, or $3.06 a share, in the second quarter, up from $633 million, or $2.28 a share, a year ago. Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $2.94 a share, according to Thomson First Call. Valero was down $1.74, or 2.1%, to $82.51.

Netflix

(NFLX) - Get Report

said second-quarter earnings rose 96% from a year ago to $5.7 million, or 9 cents a share, with end-of-quarter subscribers totaling 3.2 million. Adjusted earnings of 14 cents a share were 13 cents better than expected and the DVD-by-mail outfit raised subscriber guidance for the year.

Netflix was upgraded by CSFB to outperform from neutral, with the stock price target moving to $26 from $11. Piper Jaffray also upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform. Netflix rose $2.05, or 12.1%, to $19.01.

Verizon Communications

(VZ) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of $2.1 billion, or 75 cents a share, up from $1.8 billion, or 64 cents a share a year ago. Excluding items, Verizon earned $1.8 billion, or 63 cents a share. Analysts expected a profit of 64 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call. Verizon was up 11 cents, or 0.3%, to finish at $34.13.

U.S. Steel

(X) - Get Report

reported second-quarter net earnings of $245 million, or $1.88 a share, compared with $211 million, or $1.62 a share, a year ago. Second-quarter revenue rose 4% to $3.58 billion. However, the company said results for the third quarter will likely to be lower than in the second quarter because of recent spot-price trends in domestic and European markets for sheet products. The stock added $2.06, or 5%, to $43.69.

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

earned $461 million, or $1.02 a share, in the second quarter, including a 6-cent gain. Last year, the company earned $296 million, or 6 cents a share. Sales were $9.3 billion in the 2005 quarter compared with $8.8 billion last year. Analysts had forecast earnings of 83 cents a share on sales of $9.12 billion in the latest quarter. The stock gained $1.48, or 2.4%, to $63.99.

ImClone Systems

(IMCL)

reported second-quarter net income of $26 million, or 30 cents a share, up from $24 million, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding expenses from a discontinued research unit, the company earned 37 cents a share, beating the Thomson First Call average forecast by 4 cents. Revenue rose 25% to $92.4 million, less than the expectations of $95.8 million. The stock fell 85 cents, or 2.4%, to $34.23.

In ratings moves, Bear Stearns downgraded

Electronic Arts

(ERTS)

to underperform from peer perform ahead of the company's earnings report after the bell. Shares lost $2.90, or 4.7%, to $59.

On the economic front, the Conference Board said its July consumer confidence index slipped to 103.2 from 106.2 in June, a bit below the 106.2 consensus.

"With the full array of July confidence data now available -- with the exception of the final Michigan numbers -- no clear picture emerges," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics. "It seems fair to conclude that despite the sharp rise in gas prices between the June and July surveys, consumers seem relatively unconcerned."

Overseas markets were mostly lower, with London's FTSE 100 down 0.3% at 5261 and Germany's Xetra DAX unchanged at 4843. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.2% overnight to 11,738, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 14,770.