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US stocks rise -- a bit

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While the London market shivered on Friday, the Dow put on two per cent and Nasdaq closed marginally higher, up 2.65 points. PeopleSoft fell 25 per cent following Goldman Sachs' decision to reduce their recommendation from 'strong buy' to 'neutral'. It is only a month since we reported PeopleSoft's conference call with financial analysts to say everything was on target, that those worries about the slowing of new software licences were not a concern, and that the company was winning sales against SAP. The shares were then marked up. It seems that there is now a feeling that prices are too high in the sector, and that competition is growing -- especially from SAP. Economic turmoil resulting in slower growth rates were also cited as a factor. But since the Goldman Sachs markdown was only four per cent in growth, to 42 per cent, the market over-reaction was quite surprising. Morgan Stanley shaved a cent off the current year earnings estimate, to 64c per share. SAP fell six per cent, and Baan fell eight per cent. Network Appliance put on seven per cent, Yahoo yo-yoed up 12 per cent and Amazon.com rose seven per cent following a 'buy' recommendation from Bear Stearns. Again we see these stock tipsters helping the shares along, rather than giving any real information about the prospects of the company. We call it 'outsider trading'. Other Internet stocks such as Excite, Infoseek and Lycos moved up. Scientific-Atlanta warned that its Q1 earnings per share would be in the 2-5c range, rather than the anticipated 21c, which caused its to drop 38 per cent. ® Click for more stories

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