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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

MARKET CLOSE: Techs slide prior to earnings

Investors took no chances and took a few profits of their own Monday as they braced to hear about profits from a pair of technology giants.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 34.10 to 2830.38 and the S&P 500 slid 11.12 to 1407.66 on a day of moderate volume, as Wall Street waited for quarterly reports from Microsoft and IBM. The @100 Index slipped 47.99 to 5,292.09 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 22.16 to 11,187.68.

"There's a little bit of a 'show-me' type of feeling out there in the market,'' said Marshall Acuff, an equity analyst at Salomon Smith Barney.

With high expectations for a strong summer earnings period and three solid weeks of record highs, Wall Street takes a little more to be impressed lately, he said.

Three Internet stocks reported quarterly results: Priceline.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN), up 1/4 to 97 21/32, after posting a narrower-than-expected loss; AdForce Inc. (Nasdaq: ADFC), up 1 1/4 to 30 1/4 after saying it has made up revenue lost when it lost Geocities as a customer; and E*Trade Group Inc. (Nasdaq: EGRP), down 2 13/16 to 34 11/16, as the entire e-broker group slid, possibly stemming from a Barron's article that noted slowing growth in the online brokerage sector.

Printer maker Lexmark International Group Inc. (NYSE: LXK) slid 1 1/16 to 64 13/16 despite reporting earnings well above analyst estimates.

Several stocks retreated ahead of quarterly reports scheduled for release this afternoon, after the closing bell. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) dropped 1 1/16 to 98 3/8, Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB) declined 3 1/8 to 69 3/4, and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) rose 7/8 to 158 11/16. Informix Corp. (Nasdaq: IFMX) went down 1/16 to 9 3/8, IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) fell 1 5/8 to 134 5/8, and Doubleclick Inc. (Nasdaq: DCLK) yielded 5 5/16 to 94 13/16.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) rose 2 1/4 to 116 1/4 after announcing that Lucent Technologies Inc. executive Carleton S. Fiorina will become president and CEO of H-P after the current holder of those posts, Lewis Platt, retires at the end of the year.

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. (Nasdaq: TMCS) picked up 6 1/16 to 40 1/16. The provider of local entertainment guides online unveiled a plan to buy Microsoft's Sidewalk business and provide a "local" channel on the MSN.com network. Microsoft is getting 7.5 million shares of TMCS, and warrants to buy up to 4.5 million more.

Another company rose on news of a deal with Microsoft. Customer service software vendor Firstwave Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: FSTW) gained 6 3/4 to 8 5/8 after winning a contract with Microsoft's Embedded Systems Group.

E-commerce specialist CyberSource Corp. (Nasdaq: CYBS) gained 4 7/8 to 34 7/8 after IPO underwriters began coverage of the stock.

Qwest Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST) fell 1 1/16 to 33 15/16 on news of the company's pending acquisition of U S West Inc. (NYSE: USW), which slid 1/2 to 59 3/4. Global Crossing Ltd. (Nasdaq: GBLX), which will buy Frontier Corp., retreated 1/4 to 46 3/8.>