Midday Report: Nasdaq Rally Takes a Breather

Technology companies weighed in with mixed results late Thursday and early Friday, causing investors to sell some of the stocks they pushed higher in recent days.

There were some bright spots, though, and tech stocks had not wiped out the gains made since the Federal Reserve set interest rates lower earlier in the week, in an effort to bolster economic growth.

At midday Friday, the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 45.10 at 2,137.04. Topping the most-active list was Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), up US$1.25 at $69.29 after reporting quarterly results that topped expectations.

JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU) was next, rising $2.15 to $28.05 following reports of upgrades by Salomon Smith Barney, WR Hambrecht and Robertson Stephens. Analysts at the firms reportedly expect business for the optical components maker to pick up later this year, as customers work through excess inventory.

Cisco, Sun, Intel Lower

Meanwhile, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) was down 35 cents at $18.56, Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) — which also reported quarterly results — was down 93 cents at $19.78, and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) was down 99 cents at $31.50.

Blue chips also traded lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 164.09 to 10,529.62. The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was down 18.06 at 1,235.64.

The E-Commerce Times Index was little changed, registering a 0.06 percent gain at midday.

eBay Red-Hot

eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) was up 85 cents at $50.84 after blowing past analyst estimates in the first quarter. The online auctioneer reported a 90 percent year-over-year revenue gain for the quarter ended March 31st, and raised its projections for the next two quarters.

Since April 12th, eBay stock has risen 22.1 percent, and since April 4th, the stock has soared 67.4 percent.

Internet consulting company Mainspring (Nasdaq: MSPR) was up 73 cents at $3.93, after IBM (NYSE: IBM) said it would buy the company for $4 per share in cash, or a total of about $83 million.

B2Bs Mixed After Reports

Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce software maker Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC) was down $2.42 at $11.29, following news of a wider quarterly loss and a rash of analyst downgrades.

Ariba (Nasdaq: ARBA), which also makes software for B2B marketplaces, rose 55 cents to $7.58 after matching analyst estimates for the second quarter ended March 31st. Ariba previously lowered its outlook for the quarter and canceled a plan to buy Agile Software.

Computer makers Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and Gateway (NYSE: GTW) were both lower after reporting weak quarterly results. Gateway, down 67 cents at $17.35, reported a loss after restructuring charges, while Honeywell, down 68 cents at $46.92, said it plans to cut about 6,500 jobs. Honeywell has agreed to be acquired by General Electric (NYSE: GE).

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