Midday Report: Nasdaq Sinks on Oracle Warning

Nasdaq stocks fell on Friday following profit warnings from Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), Nuance (Nasdaq: NUAN) and others.

At midday, the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 17.21 at 1,923.50. The DowJones Industrial Average was down 39.32 at 9,991.96, and the Standard &Poor’s 500 stock index was down 7.36 at 1,166.20.

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) led the Nasdaq lower, falling 59 U.S. cents to $19.72 by midday. Oracle was down 41 cents at $14.28 after the software maker reported that results for the quarter just ended met analysts’ lowered expectations. However, Oracle said that future results were difficult to predict because of theeconomy.

Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) was up 3 cents at $18.80, reversing an early declineafter the computer maker provided a gloomy outlook for the first quarter and said it would lay off as many as5,000 employees, or 7 percent of its workforce.

Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) was up $3.81 at $28.81 after reportingbetter-than-expected quarterly results.

E-Commerce Dip

The E-Commerce TimesIndex was 2.38 percent lower at midday, led by drops in Travelocity(Nasdaq: TVLY), E*Trade Group (Nasdaq: EGRP) and Egghead Software (Nasdaq:EGGS).

eBay was up 19 cents at $34.81 after Goldman Sachs confirmed the stock’sposition on its recommended list. Auction revenue is picking up in thequarter, helped in part by the company’s decision to begin charging listingfees, wrote Goldman analyst Anthony Noto.

Mixed-Up Economy

The day’s economic news offered more evidence that a Federal Reserverate cut is likely next week, but did not fuel the argument that a hugeslash in rates is needed to revive the economy.

The U.S. Department of Labor said that inflation at the wholesale level, as measured bythe producer price index, rose 0.1 percent in February. Meanwhile, theUniversity of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, a closely watchedbarometer of future spending, reportedly edged higher during the month,indicating that consumers are continuing to buy.

The U.S. Department of Commerce report on housing showed that work on new homes continued in February, a sign the economic slowdown has not stoppedactivity in construction.

The news for manufacturing, however, was not very good. The Federal Reserve said that industrial production dropped 0.6 percentlast month, with declines across all industries.

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