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Tech Industry

MIDDAY MARKETS: Intel drags down techs

Techs followed Intel's lead at midday Wednesday and headed south. The Nasdaq dipped 33.93 to 2,838.50, and the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 86.12 to 10,330.94.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index sank 1 to 343.95.

Investors ignored a bevy of solid earnings news and focused on interest rate anxieties and a falling bond market. Bond prices eased despite a climbing dollar Wednesday. The 30-year Treasury fell 6/32, to yield 6.238 percent.

Falling prices for processors again took their toll as Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), down 3 5/8 to 73 1/16, missed Wall Street's earnings estimates for the second straight quarter. Investors weren't buying Intel's outlook for the next quarter. Things aren't bound to improve later in the day, since SG Cowen cut the rating on Intel Corp. to "neutral" from "buy."

E*Trade Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGRP) beat First Call's estimates with its fourth qaurter results, but transaction figures and account growth show a slowdown compared to the third quarter. Shares rose 31/32 to 26 3/8. Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCH) fell 1 7/8 to 29 7/8, DLJdirect (NYSE: DIR) dropped 1/16 to 15 1/4 and National Discount Brokers (NYSE: NDB) shed 1/4 to 24 3/4.

Knight/Trimark Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: NITE), up 1/8 to 25 1/4, topped First Call estimates for the third quarter Wednesday, but it was a hollow victory following a profit warning that nearly halved analyst expectations.

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) CEO Christopher Galvin said he continued to believe the company could improve its profits and said there were talks going on to find a viable financial restructuring for the Iridium LLC satellite project. Shares weren't so optimistic, retreating 1 11/16 to 93 1/4.

Iona Technologies (Nasdaq: IONA), up 1 3/8 to 16 1/2, posted third quarter earnings of 12 cents a share Wednesday, topping First Call's estimate of 10 cents a share.

Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) was back down 1 to 22 3/16, or 4 percent, after Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia denied reports that he's buying shares of the biggest maker of personal computers. Shares of Compaq had risen 6 percent after a message on the Internet site said the prince was buying shares. Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) lost 5/16 to 44 9/16.