Midday Report: Nasdaq Gets a Lift From Ciena

A strong quarterly report and bullish forecast from telecom equipment makerCiena (Nasdaq: CIEN) helped lift technology stocks, pulling the NasdaqComposite Index up 78.79 to 2,570.19 by midday Thursday.

Other big Nasdaq movers included Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), up US$1.25 at $30.62;Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), up $1.82 at $35.94; and JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU),up $3.75 at $45.

Ciena, up $16.77 at $93.58, said that it expects business to continue to be strong in the yearahead. The news pushed other technology stocks higher as well, by providing hope that the slowdown in the economy might not be as bad as has been feared.

Ciena said that revenue for the fourth quarter endedJanuary 31st rose more than 130 percent from a year earlier to $352 million. Income before payroll tax on stock-option exercises totaled$54.1 million, or 18 cents per fully diluted share — ahead of analyst per-share estimates of 15cents.

Slightly Good News

In economic news, reports said the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’sindex of local manufacturing activity edged higher in February, though itshowed business remained sluggish.

Separately, the Labor Department said fewer workers filed claims forunemployment benefits last week than in the previous week. Jobless claims,however, are still running at a higher level than last year.

Amazon Recovering

On the e-commerce ledger, Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) started lower but rallied to sit at $14.44, up 69 cents. Prudential Securitiesdowngraded the e-tailer to sell, saying that the stock poses more risks thanreward potential.

Prudential analyst Mark Rowen cited “anemic” growth in the company’score books, music and video operations.

Amazon competitor Barnesandnoble.com (Nasdaq: BNBN) was also lower, reversing anearly gain sparked by news that the company won a round in an lawsuit brought by Amazon over the e-tailer’s patented 1-Click technology. Barnesandnoble.com was down12 cents at $1.62 in midday trading.

E-Commerce Higher

However, the E-Commerce Times Index of 10 prominent dot-coms, however, was up 3.54 percent.

Webvan Group (Nasdaq: WBVN) was up 3 cents at 38 cents after the companysaid its founderresigned for personal reasons. The online grocer has seen its sharesfall from a 52-week high of $14.88, and is in danger of being delisted fromNasdaq.

Online auctioneer eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) was up $2.75, or 5.8 percent, to $50.19.

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