Tech Industry

Market retreats from high tech

Swirling rumors, disappointing earnings, and a securities filing push down the markets in trading.

High tech's swirling rumors, disappointing earnings, and a securities filing pushed down the markets in trading today.

Informix (IFMX) was one of the leaders in the downward descent of the Nasdaq Composite in volume trading, following comments from the company discounting talk that it is an acquisition target. Rumors buzzed that Oracle, Netscape, and Microsoft were potential buyers.

Hewlett-Packard's (HWP) lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings results were a drag on the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index in heavy volume.

Those factors, plus "people extracting things out of [quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission] got people spooked," said Bruce Lupatkin, research director for Hambrecht & Quist.

In regard to Informix, Lupatkin added, "The stock ran ahead of the merger and cooled on [it]."

Informix, which has seen its share price rise over the last three days to close at 11-3/8 yesterday from 8-9/32 on Tuesday, lost a chunk of that ground today when it closed at 10-1/16, down 1-5/16.

That performance mirrored the Nasdaq, which jumped to 1353.58 at its close yesterday, nearly a 20-point gain from its Tuesday close. The index, however, gave up half those gains in early trading today to close at 1340.73, down 12.85.

Also contributing to the Nasdaq's decline was Netscape. The stock closed at 29-1/4, down 5-3/8.

Netscape's shares have remained fairly level in the last two days but were given a small jolt after it filed first-quarter results with the SEC yesterday.

The company noted that it expected slower growth in the future, in part due to competition from Microsoft.

HP, which announced its results after the market's close yesterday and trades on the New York Stock Exchange, closed down 6-1/8 to end the day at 52-3/4.

The NYSE Composite Index also had inched over the past three days and gave back some gains in trading to close at 434.44, down 5.21.