Shares of Maryland fiber optic equipment maker Ciena Corp. lead the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index lower today, but an unexpected drop in energy prices helped the stock market rebound from its early losses.
Ciena stock fell 25 percent after several analysts cut their ratings on the stock in response to the company's announcement that second quarter sales will be only $75 million -- at least $20 million less than expected. The company will report a loss for the quarter -- it's 12th in a row.
Once one of Washington's hottest high tech investments, Ciena stock peaked at almost $150 a share back in 2000 before the tech bubble burst. It closed today at $2.08, an all-time low.
With Ciena leading the list of losers, on a percentage basis, the Nasdaq composite fell 4 points to 1855.06.
The Standard & Poors 500 stock index was off a point at 1098.63.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 6 points to 10126.51.
After early losses, the market rebounded in mid-afternoon in response to two developments that reversed the steady climb in energy prices.
The Energy Department reported an unexpected improvement last week in U.S. gasoline stockpiles, which climbed by 2.4 million barrels to their highest level since February 2003. That report sent gasoline futures skidding more than 8 cents a gallon and helped bring down crude oil prices as well.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude hit an all time record high of $44.32 but then dropped by $1.32 in response to the gasoline supply report and an easing of the dispute between the government of Russia and that county's biggest energy exporter, Yukos Oil Co.
Yukos has been in a bitter, highly politicized fight over taxes that prompted the government to threaten to freeze its bank accounts. Today Yukos said it had been given access to the funds needed to continue operations, which removed the threat that Yukos' exports would dry up, tightening world supplies.
In response, crude oil prices fell around the world, dropping to $42.83 on the New York futures market.