Yahoo! Ends Near Unchanged as Selling Fears Wane

Two positive analyst reports helped stave off profit-taking in Yahoo! and the rest of the tech sector.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Concern heading into today was that traders who had pushed Yahoo! (YHOO) stock higher in advance of its earnings Wednesday would depart en masse following the news, regardless of what the company reported. But after some early weakness, Yahoo! righted itself and closed little changed, helping to stave off profit-taking in the tech sector.

Yahoo! closed down 1 3/4, or less than 1%, at 206 11/16, about in the middle of its range for the day of 196 15/16 and 217.

Helping stave off sellers were two positive analysts' reports.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

upped its price target on Yahoo! to 300 from 250, and

Jeffries & Co

reiterated its 300 price target on the stock.

However,

Lehman Brothers

analyst Brian Oakes said he thought Yahoo! stock could drop as much as 20% because of "minimal top-line surprise, flat results at

GeoCities

(GCTY)

and a lack of a stock-split announcement."

Among the Internet winners was

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

, which closed up 21 3/4, or 14.5%, at 171 3/4. Shorts established since

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

announced it was entering the online auction business have been squeezed amid a rally in the Net sector.

Also,

CMGI

(CMGI)

closed up 15 1/8, or 6.5%, at 246 1/2.

Warning! Warning!

Pre-earnings announcements took their toll on a number of companies today. Telecommunications software company

Architel

(ASYCF)

, which announced it would report a revenue shortfall due to a change in its relationship with its largest customer, closed down 8 3/4, or 49%, at 9 1/4.

Also on the downside was

HNC Software

(HNCS)

, which warned of an earnings shortfall Wednesday.

CS First Boston

downgraded the stock to buy from strong buy following the warning. It closed down 11 22/32, or 43%, at 15 1/2.

And supply chain software vendor

Manugistics

(MANU) - Get Report

closed down 25/32, or 12%, at 5 31/32, after reporting a wider-than-expected loss for its fiscal fourth quarter.