Tech Stocks End Week Mostly Stronger After Tumultuous Start

Amazon.com and eBay rise ahead of their earnings reports next week.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Tech stocks ended mostly stronger Friday, including some noteworthy Net issues, after a week that began with an unanticipated and precipitous fall. The Nasdaq closed near its all-time highs.

Among the top Internet performers were

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

. Other than online auctions, the two have something else in common -- they both report earnings next week and appear to be ramping up ahead of those reports.

Amazon.com closed up 19 1/16, or 10%, at 209 1/8, as traders continue to get into the stock before earnings are reported after the close on Wednesday. During the last earnings season, Amazon.com traded from a low of Jan 21, five days before it reported fourth quarter earnings, to a high of 139 3/4 on Jan. 27, a day after it beat earnings estimates. But over the month after its fourth-quarter earnings, the stock turned lower, trading to a low of 84 1/4 on Feb. 18.

eBay ended up 28 1/8, or 16%, at 200 1/8, ahead of its earnings on Monday. eBay had a similar path ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings report as Amazon.com. eBay traded from a low of 55 11/32 on Jan. 22 to 104 21/32 on Jan. 27 after reporting on Jan. 26. It then slipped to 64 by Feb. 10.

Also among the day's winners was

3Com

(COMS)

. There was rampant speculation that the company would be bought out by either

Ericsson

(ERICY)

or

Siemens

. 3Com ended the day up 3 1/2, or 16%, at 25 13/16.

A smaller-than-expected earnings loss from

Lam Research

(LRCX) - Get Report

helped turn that stock around. Lam ended up, receiving upgrades from a number of research houses, including

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

and

Bankers Trust Alex Brown

. It closed up 2 5/16, or 7%, at 36 7/16.

An earnings story of another kind was seen with

VeriSign

(VRSN) - Get Report

. Although it beat estimates, it was downgraded by influential Internet analyst Mary Meeker of

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

to neutral from outperform due to valuation concerns. It closed down 15 5/8, or 11%, at 131 1/16, but that was an improvement over its intraday low of 122.

Also having a tough go of it was

Critical Path

(CPTH)

following the companies' earnings Thursday. Critical Path closed down 23 1/4, or 20%, at 94 1/8. But the loss was still a couple of points less than the 25 3/4 points the stock gained on Thursday in anticipation of the earnings report.

Rick Juarez, senior Internet and electronic infrastructure analyst with BancBoston Robertson Stephens, which was the lead underwriter for Critical Path, said there was some disappointment among investors that the company's revenue was not greater than the $1.15 million reported. Juarez said fundamentals of the company remain strong. Announced deals with

America Online's

(AOL)

ICQ

unit,

US West

(USW)

and

Sprint

(FON)

are the first of what should be many deals with telecommunication operators both domestically and internationally, he said.