Dell Bounces and Tech Rout Is Averted, for Now

A weak open gave way to a fair amount of buying.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The tech sector, expected to come under heavy fire this morning, mostly held its ground after Dell (DELL) - Get Report shares found buyers and consolidation rumors buoyed Internet issues.

After dropping sharply in after-hours trading Tuesday evening on the heels of an earnings report that

disappointed the Street, Dell was off 6 at 82 3/4. The stock was off 12 after hours Tuesday after the Round Rock, Texas, computer firm failed to meet revenue estimates.

Michael Kwatinetz, an analyst with

Credit Suisse First Boston

, forecast before the opening that Dell shares would present a buying opportunity this morning. He said with the stock trading at around 50 times earnings projections for 1999, it is more desirable than two weeks ago, when it was at 110 and trading at 75 times estimated earnings. CS First Boston maintains a strong buy rating on the stock.

Published reports that

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

took a 7% stake in

Geoworks

(GWRX)

, which makes software for mobile communications such as

Nokia

(NOKA)

telephones. Geoworks was up 3 1/2, or 103%, at 6 7/8, while Amazon.com was up 2 3/8 at 101.

And

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

was trading 8 3/8 higher at 239 1/2 early after

The Wall Street Journal

reported that

America Online

(AOL)

could be interested in a minority stake in the online auction company. AOL was off 1/8 at 159 3/8.

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

, which reported strong earnings but like Dell failed to beat revenue targets, was 9/16 lower at 69 15/16. And

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

, which reported strong earnings and strong orders

Tuesday, was up 3 3/8 at 71 1/4.

Shares of

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

were fractionally firmer ahead of the rollout of its

Pentium III

chip today.