On the day when most stocks were up following optimistic noises about corporate earnings and inflation, one technology stock loomed large in red on investors’ screens. Netscape Communications Corp had another terrible Tuesday, following last week’s 18.5% plunge (CI No 3,074). Another downbeat analyst report, this time from Merrill Lynch & Co’s analyst Bruce Smith, caused the shares to fall $4.50, or 9.6% to close at $42.25, getting perilously close to their 52-week low of $34.50. Smith said the company had put its first quarter performance at risk by rushing to close orders last in the fourth quarter. Netscape denied the accusation, but of course couldn’t comment of its year-end figures, which are due January 28. The company’s shares have lost 28% of their value in the last seven days. Yesterday, some 6.6m of Netscape’s Nasdq-listed shares were traded; three times the daily average. Smith was one of those voicing concern last week at Netscape’s earnings growth, and said yesterday’s research note represented an increased level of concern about the stock. Smith told Dow Jones The pipeline is dry. The [fourth] quarter was severely back-end loaded. They closed a number of deals on Dec 31 just to make the quarter. First Call’s current estimate is $0.10 for the quarter and $0.31 per share for the year. Other stocks were lifted from a rally in the bond market, which was sparked by a lower-than expected increase in consumer prices for December. Nasdaq hit a record high yesterday of 1346.36.