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Recent events cause "frog on speed" effect

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Recent technology stock movements have by-and large reflected recent events. Thanks to a volte face by Fed chairman Alan Greenspan who said last Friday that interest rates might be cut despite the risk of inflation, when US markets re-opened on Tuesday after the holiday, there was a record 380 point, 5 per cent gain in the Dow Industrials to 7865, only to be followed yesterday by a 2 per cent fall. Presidential peccadillos gave the excuse for yesterday's profit taking. The Dow is still about 15 per cent below its record mid-July high, with around two-thirds of TheStreet.com readers responding to a survey believing that the Dow will touch 7000 before it passes 9000. Adobe put on more than 9 per cent yesterday, probably as a result of some subtle amendments it made to its bylaws that could make it more difficult for a predator, and the evident failure of the less-than-deadly embrace of Quark. In Malaysia, the KLSE composite index went up 11.5 per cent after a 21.5 per cent decline the previous day, connected with the new controls on capital. At SG Cowen's conference in Boston, Greg Maffei talked up the prospects for Microsoft earnings per share exceeding average analysts' estimates by four cents this quarter. He cautioned however that Novell would be launching NetWare 5 on Monday, and said: "We shot ourselves in the foot in terms of timing." He was presumably referring to the still far-distant release of NT5. Amazon.com was examined again by the WSJ yesterday. With no profits, but a market value of $4.64 billion, a Merrill Lynch financial analyst recommended reducing holdings. A recent study by Ron Ploof of IceGroup suggested that Amazon.com was losing $7.15 per order. Could it reduce this by increasing the volume? ®

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