Midday Report: Nasdaq Turns Higher, Juniper Leads Gain

The Nasdaq Composite Index erased a morning loss to trade higher at midday, as a strong earnings report from router maker Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) offset concern about an economic slump.

At midday, the tech-heavy index was up 10.91 at 1,909.86, after trading as low as 1,868.76 earlier in the session.

Juniper was up US$3.86 at $46.62, after reporting that revenue for the quarter ended March 31st rose to $332.1 million from $63.9 million a year earlier, while net income advanced to $58.6 million, or 17 cents per share, from $8.1 million, or 2 cents.

Among other index members, Juniper competitor Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) was up 28 cents at $17.68, and Intel was up 9 cents at $27.61.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, had improved 6.63 to 10,020.10, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was ahead 3.96 at 1,169.85.

Amazon, eBay Up

The E-Commerce Times Index was up 1 percent at midday, with Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) advancing 71 cents to $14.04 and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) gaining 89 cents to $40.06.

Travelocity (Nasdaq: TVLY), meanwhile, fell 52 cents to $20.66 and Egghead Software (Nasdaq: EGGS) slipped a penny to 71 cents.

Economic Slump

Stocks were lower most of the morning, after government reports showed that retail sales and wholesale prices both dropped in March, signaling that the economy is slowing.

The Labor Department’s report on producer prices showed a 0.1 percent drop for the month, as prices for energy and computers fell, reports said.

Meanwhile, a key gauge of consumer sentiment, the University of Michigan’s monthly index, reportedly fell more than analysts expected in April. The index showed consumers to be less optimistic about the economy than they were a month ago, reports said.

Yahoo! Lower on Layoffs

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) was down 28 cents at $15.58 after announcing plans to lay off 420 workers, or 12 percent of its employees. The company also reported quarterly results that were in line with scaled-down expectations.

BlackBerry pager maker Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) picked up $3.25 to $25.18 after reporting quarterly results that topped estimates. UBS Warburg and JP Morgan analysts reportedly raised their ratings on the stock after the report.

Scient Falls

Scient (Nasdaq: SCNT), meanwhile, fell 47 cents to $1.03 after lowering its outlook for the fourth quarter which ended March 31st and announcing plans to cut at least 675 jobs.

“The economic environment remains extremely challenging,” said Scient chairman and chief executive officer Bob Howe. “Our large enterprise clients continue to delay [information technology] spending initiatives, which has resulted in further deterioration in our pipeline.”

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