Midday Report: Nasdaq Advances on Solid Tech Results

Nasdaq stocks traded higher for a second day in a row Thursday, building onWednesday’s gains as several technology companies weighed in with quarterlyresults and forecasts that were better than expected.

At midday, the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 16.26 at 2,076.06, led by gainsin Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), up 39 U.S. cents at $16.12.

Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM) was up 87 cents at $20.26, even after the telecom company reported tepid results for the firstquarter ended March 31st. However, Worldcom said it is on track to meetcurrent estimates for the fiscal year.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 8.97 at 1,237.72, and the DowJones Industrial Average was ahead 34.10 at 10,659.30.

Software maker PeopleSoft (Nasdaq: PSFT) climbed $6.08 to $36.01 afterreporting stronger-than-expected quarterly results. Analysts at MorganStanely Dean Witter, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse First Boston allreportedly hiked their ratings on PeopleSoft shares following the report.

Homestore, TheStreet Gain

The quarter was also better than expected at some Internet companies.Homestore.com (Nasdaq: HOMS), which operates a network of real-estate Websites, jumped $4.63 to $33.36 after reporting posted better-than-expectedresults for the first quarter ended March 31st, and predicting strongresults for the second quarter as well.

Financial news and content Web site TheStreet.com (Nasdaq: TSCM)also gained, picking up 18 cents to trade at $2.38, after narrowing its lossin the quarter just ended. The company said that cost-cutting measures, includingrecently announced job cuts, are helping results as plans to diversifyrevenue beyond advertising are put in place.

PurchasePro Sinks

Not all the day’s earnings news was good, however. Business-to-business(B2B) e-commerce company PurchasePro (Nasdaq: PPRO) slipped 65 cents to$3.40 after posting a loss for the quarter just ended, missing analyst estimates for a profit. The company blamed the shortfall on “deferral ofrevenues associated with the sale of several marketplaces.”

The E-Commerce TimesIndex was up 0.5 percent at midday, with gains in Barnesandnoble.com(Nasdaq: BNBN), Drugstore.com (Nasdaq: DSCM) and E*Trade (Nasdaq: EGRP)offset by losses in eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY), Egghead Software (Nasdaq: EGGS) andWebvan (Nasdaq: WBVN).

Webvan Slides on Job Cuts

Grocery e-tailer Webvan fell 10 cents to 14 cents by midday after announcingit would exitthe Atlanta, Georgia market and cut 885 jobs as it struggles to post aprofit and avoid a Nasdaq delisting. Directors approved a 1-for-25 reversestock split to help bring the company’s shares above Nasdaq’s $1 minimumlisting requirement.

Webvan also named a new chief executive officer, Robert Swan, and reported aloss for the first quarter just ended.

Barnesandnoble.com, which reports results after the close of trading, was up23 cents at $2.14.

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