Technology stocks lost ground again Monday as the Nasdaq composite fell 57 points to close at 1,782.90. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 101 points to finish at 9,777.93.
Even though a key barometer for the manufacturing sector increased for a second straight month, investors weren't ready to commit to any significant buying.
The National Association of Purchasing Management reported its manufacturing index advanced to 43.1 from 41.9 in February, surprising financial markets, which had been girding for a weak 41.4 reading, according to a Reuters poll.
However, American Express (NYSE: AMX), a Dow component, fell $1.59 to $39.71 after warning that its first-quarter earnings will fall short of expectations.
"We are going to have a lot more of this, a lot of volatility in the coming weeks with more American Express-type announcements," Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. told Reuters. "We are still nervous about how much the economy has slowed and how adversely it is going to affect earnings."
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) lost 56 cents to finish at $25.75. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) slid $1.04 to $25.50, while IBM (NYSE: IBM) ended off $1.52 to $94.66.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) fell $1.63 to $24.06, Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) trimmed 22 cents to $17.98, Gateway (NYSE: GTW) lost 86 cents to $15.95 and Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL) shaved off 48 cents to close at $21.59.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) managed to gain $1.13 to $55.81. Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) rose 34 cents to $15.32, and Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) ended off 18 cents to $15.19.
Shares of Art Technology (Nasdaq: ARTG) plunged $6.03 to $5.97 after the company announced it will see a loss instead of the profit Wall Street was expecting in its first quarter. Analysts downgraded the software maker and said things aren't likely to improve anytime soon.
Citing delayed customer purchases, business-to-business software firm i2 Technologies (Nasdaq: ITWO), said it may lay off up to 10 percent of its work force and will miss expectations for first-quarter earnings. The stock closed up 94 cents to $15.44.
Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) lost $1.75 to $14. America Online Time Warner (NYSE: AOL) fell $2.98 to $37.17, while eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) tumbled 88 cents and $1.13 a share, respectively. CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI) chopped off 15 cents to $2.39.
Acxiom (Nasdaq: ACXM) shares lost $9.38 to $11.50 following a profit warning and news of an accounting change.
Broadband company Rhythms NetConnections (Nasdaq: RTHM) is considering putting itself up for sale amid a delisting notice from the Nasdaq and a question from its auditors on whether it has enough cash to continue operating. The stock lost 13 cents to finish at 31 cents.
ZDII staff and Reuters contributed to this roundup.