A stronger-than-expected Producer Price Index report coupled with ominous comments from Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan conspired to hammer the market Friday. The Dow fell 267 points to 10,019.71 after briefly dipping below the 10,000-point threshold.
The Nasdaq composite fell 75 points to 2,731.79 as investors licked their wounds and dumped pricey Internet stocks in a flash.
September's PPI jumped a whopping 1.1 percent, well above most economists estimates of 0.5 percent. The "core" PPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.8 percent.
The combination of disappointing earnings from a bellwether like Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and the ever-increasing possibility of an interest-rate hike hampered technology stocks across the board.
"These numbers are significantly more than expected. This almost assures the fact that we'll see an interest rate hike in November," said Barry Hyman, market strategist at Ehrenkrantz, King Nussbaum Inc.
Adding fuel to the fire, Greenspan late Thursday advised investors to stash reserves in case they have to face a big market downturn.
Internet stocks took more than its fair share of abuse Friday.
``They are very sensitive to negative comments from someone like Greenspan," said Conley Turner, an analyst at Wall Street Strategies. "Right now there seems to be some bottom fishing among the more aggressive investors."
Internet advertiser DoubleClick Inc. (DCLK) tumbled 14 to 113 1/2 even though it reported a third-quarter loss that was slightly smaller than expected.
theglobe.com plunged 2 9/16 to 11 1/16 after it warned that its third-quarter sales will fall short of analysts' estimates.
America Online Inc. (AOL) lost 5 3/4 to 109 1/4 while Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) fell 4 17/32 and 4 a share, respectively. Lycos Inc. (LCOS) shed 3 3/16 to 55 7/8 and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) closed off 2 3/8 to 29 5/16.
On the bright side, Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) rose 3 5/32 to 92 9/16 after beating Street estimates by 2 cents a share in its first quarter.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) dropped 1 17/32 to 42 13/16; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) fell 1 1/16 to 21 3/16; Gateway Inc. (GTW) shaved off 2 3/4 to 52 3/8 and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) bucked the trend, closing up 1 3/8 to 74 9/16.
MMC Networks (Nasdaq: MMCN) fell 3 11/16 to 27 5/8 Friday after its chief financial officer, Uday Bellary, resigned amid news the company would see significant sales declines in its fourth quarter.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) dipped 2 5/8 to 88 1/16 and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) slid 1 25/32 to 45.
Intel Corp. (INTC) chopped off 2 15/32 to 70 7/8 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) clipped 7/16 to 17 9/16. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) ended up 1/2 to 107 1/2.