Midday Report: Nasdaq Sees Slim Gain as Morning Tech Rally Fizzles

Nasdaq stocks retreated after an early rally Thursday, with the composite indextrading just above the key 2,000 level at midday. Big-name technology stockswere mostly higher.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 32.45 at 2004.54 in early-afternoontrading, down from a morning high of 2030.73. The Dow Jones IndustrialAverage was up 47.15 at 10,020.61, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock indexwas up 8.68 at 1,175.39.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)all helped lead the Nasdaq higher.

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), however, was down 51 U.S. cents at $15.55 following newsof a class-action suit filed by shareholders who say the company misled themabout its business prospects.

More Profit Warnings

Meanwhile, the litany of company warnings about quarterly results persisted Thursday, with Virata (Nasdaq: VATA), SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) and TeleTech(Nasdaq: TTEC) all weighing in with lower forecasts.

Software maker Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) was down $7.62 at $34.62 after the company said sales growth for the current quarter is proving slower than expected.

One bright spot was Nokia (BUE: NOKA.BA), which rose $3.42 to$25.22. The Finnish mobile-phone maker said that while sales growth in the first quarter is provingslower than previously thought, earnings are on track to meet companyprojections.

“During the last few months, in a period of difficult market conditions,Nokia has been able to strengthen its leadership position in mobilecommunications,” the company said. Nokia also said it is targeting the market for next-generation mobile network technology.

Apple Gains

Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL) was up 6 cents at $20.50 after announcingplans to buy PowerSchool, a privately held maker of Web-based educationalsystems for schools, for $62 million in stock.

The E-Commerce TimesIndex was down 0.42 percent at midday, with gains in Webvan (Nasdaq:WBVN), E*Trade (Nasdaq: EGRP) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN).

Those gains were offset, however, by losses in Barnesannoble.com (Nasdaq: BNBN) and technology e-tailer Cyberian Outpost (Nasdaq: COOL).

In economic news, the U.S. Labor Department said the number of workers filing newclaims for unemployment insurance was unchanged last week at 375,000 –reportedly the highest level of the year.

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