Net Stocks Holding Up Nasdaq

Amazon's and eBay's earnings are buoying an otherwise lackluster Nasdaq.
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Internet stocks remain the rage, keeping the

Nasdaq

on positive ground even though much of the broader tech sector is trading little changed or lower.

The Nasdaq is up marginally, but with a lot of help from Internet companies such as

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

, up 39% at 305;

Amazon.com

,

(AMZN) - Get Report

, up 15% at 132;

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, up 3 at 363 1/8; and

Broadcast.com

, up 13 at 155 1/4.

But for the most part, the tech sector is trading flat or lower. Seth Tobias, a portfolio manager with

Circle T Partners

, says the weakness is to be expected considering how strong the Nasdaq has been for most of the month. The tech-heavy stock index is up 11% in 1999.

"I highly doubt the Nasdaq is going to be up 120% for the year," says Tobias. "It's already had a rocketship. You can't have moves like that without a pause."

Tobias says he'll be watching the flows that come in around 3 p.m. EST and seeing whether institutions will continue to pour money into the market. With the end of the month on Friday, he says institutions have money that will need to be invested.

A Helping Hand

Business-software developer

Aspect Development

(ASDV)

is one of the day's big gainers after it was upgraded by

Credit Suisse First Boston

to strong buy from buy and the company said the recent selloff in Aspect was "unwarranted."

Aspect Development was recently trading up 6 3/4 at 30 5/8, a 29% gain. It had traded up to 45 as recently as Dec. 31 only to fall to 23 1/2 on Tuesday.

The upgrade reflects a combination of positive fundamentals and a recent plummet in its stock price, according to CS First Boston analyst Brent Thill. His report cites various rumors that CS First Boston finds "baseless." Among the rumors is that ASDV was being lumped in with other vendors that have had trouble closing large deals. In addition, there have been concerns that

SAP's

(SAP) - Get Report

declining license growth could affect Aspect Development's revenues because SAP is a seller of Aspect products.

"They are truly in a different league than some of the other vendors and are able to demonstrate high value and a quick return on investment," Thill said in a phone interview. CS First Boston does not have an underwriting relationship with Aspect Development.

There also was talk that the

Securities and Exchange Commission

would review in-process research and development writedowns for all companies, an accounting method that software companies are increasingly relying on to account for mergers. Aspect has reviewed this with its auditors and sees "zero risk," Thill wrote.

The report also said that the selloff "appears to be a classic case of quarter-end jitters spiraling out of control as each person assumes someone else knows something they don't."