Technology stocks remained in their deep freeze Thursday as the Nasdaq composite shaved off 106 points to close at 3,538.92. Blue-chip stocks managed to scratch out slight gains, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average up 8 points to 10,777.28.
"You're seeing the two-thirds of the market that is not technology start to gain some strength at the same time as the other is losing its leadership," said Richard Cripps, chief market strategist at Legg Mason Wood Walker. "Obviously, the catalyst for higher prices is some kind of conviction by investors that interest rates aren't going to be going up much more than they already expect."
Despite the tech sell-off, fiber optic components maker New Focus (NUFO) managed to jump 31, or 155 percent, to 51 in its initial public offering.
iBeam Broadcasting (Nasdaq: IBEM), a provider of streaming media broadcast delivery services, closed up 4 to 14 in its debut but Nogatech (Nasdaq: NGTC) fell 2 19/32 to 9 13/32 after it priced via dutch auction at $12 a share.
Among widely held Internet stocks, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) shed 5 13/16 to 132; Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) lost 5 5/8 to 55 3/8; America Online Inc. (AOL) dropped 1 1/4 to 55 1/2; Lycos Inc. (LCOS) rose 4 23/32 to 62 5/16 and eBay Inc. (EBAY) closed off 4 1/16 to 124 1/16.
Long-distance telephone companies WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM), off 2 7/16, and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON), down 1 3/4, said they remain confident their $115 billion merger will win regulatory approval despite published reports that antitrust officials believe the deal would harm consumers and should be blocked.
Oracle Corp. (ORCL) shares tumbled 5 1/8 to 73 1/16 while Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) lost 1 7/16 and 5 3/8 a share, respectively.
JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU) closed off 5 21/32 to 86 27/32 after it bumped up its revenue estimates for the fiscal year Thursday. The company also announced the retirement of CEO Kevin Kalkhoven.
Covad Communications Group Inc. (Nasdaq: COVD) gained 2 7/8 to 26 7/8 on rumors it could be a buyout target.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) slid 1 1/4 to 47 7/8; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) trimmed 11/16 to 27 15/16; Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) lost 5/8 to 100 3/4 and Gateway Inc. (GTW) ended off 1 1/2 to 50 1/4.
Intel Corp. (INTC) moved up 3/4 to 123 15/16 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) tacked on 1 1/16 to close at 86 1/16.>