Turmoil in the Middle East sent oil prices higher and stocks lower Thursday as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 380 points to 10,033.94. The Nasdaq composite fell another 95 points to finish at 3,073.90.
"In an already nervous market this is all we didn't need," said Al Goldman, an analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. in St. Louis. "A terrorist attack, increased hostilities in the Middle East and a spike in oil prices — shake it all up and you get blind dumping of stocks."
Oil prices skyrocketed on heightened fears of disruption to the flow of crude from the oil-rich Middle East.
Redback Networks (RBAK) shares closed off $9.88 to $102.69 despite posting a surprise profit in its third quarter.
KLA-Tencor Corp. (Nasdaq: KLAC) shed 94 cents to $34.69 after it topped analysts' estimates in its latest quarter.
Microsoft (MSFT) fell $1.38 to $54.38. Oracle (ORCL) gained 75 cents to $63 and Sun Microsystems (SUNW) lost $3.94 to $97.94.
Natural MicroSystems Corp. (Nasdaq: NMSS) tumbled $8.44 to $43.94 after it said third quarter income was 15 cents a share, well above First Call's expected profit of 8 cents a share, and above last year's third quarter earnings of 11 cents a share.
Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq: SCMR) shot up $4.31 to $77 after it announced BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) will use its intelligent optical switches and transport platforms to for its "Florida Multimedia Internet eXchange" network in South Florida.
Yahoo! (YHOO) dropped $8.75 to $56.63 while America Online (AOL) and eBay (EBAY) slid $3.26 and $1.88 a share, respectively. Amazon.com (AMZN) chopped off $2.69 to $25.13 and Lycos (LCOS) plunged $5.75 to finish at $34.13.
WebMD (Nasdaq: HLTH) co-CEO Jeffrey Arnold has resigned from the company, leaving Martin J. Wygod to go it alone in the top spot. Its shares ended down $1.19 to $8.50.
Unisys Corp. (Nasdaq: UIS) inched up 19 cents to $9.88 after it matched analysts' estimates for the third quarter, but said it would offer early retirement to 1,500 workers in a move to trim costs.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell (DELL) gained 19 cents to $23.19; Compaq (CPQ) lost $1.66 to $22.53; Gateway (GTW) dropped 99 cents to $43.63 and Apple Computer (AAPL) gained 38 cents to $20.
Intel (INTC) moved up $1.64 to $37.02. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) lost $1.38 to $22.13 after topping estimates in its third quarter. IBM (IBM) tumbled $8.13 to $103.88.