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Tech turmoil sends Nasdaq south as Dow climbs

Pessimistic analyst comments about tech bellwether Amazon.com batter Nasdaq stocks while shares in "old-economy" companies hold steady led by a Big Mac attack.

Pessimistic analyst comments about Amazon.com roiled tech stocks today while shares in "old-economy" companies held steady.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 91.45 to 3,845.39, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 10.69 to 1,441.49. Both finished the week almost where they started.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 28.63 to close at 10,404.75 led by McDonald's. For the week, the Dow lost about 45 points.

"It's tired blood," said Bryan Piskorowski, a market strategist at Prudential. "(The markets) have run too far, too fast.

"We have the pull of earnings announcements coming up, the tug of the Fed, and the fact that some old-school dot-coms got hit today," he said.

The CNET tech index lost 71.85 to close at 2,811.29. Losers edged out winners, with 75 of the 97 stocks in the index falling, 20 rising and two remaining unchanged.

All of the 18 sectors tracked posted losses. E-tailers and wireless companies posted the sharpest declines, falling about 9 and 7 percent respectively. Computer assisted design and manufacturing firms escaped relatively unscathed and fell a slim 0.3 percent.

Among members of the CNET Tech Index, eBay and Amazon.com posted losses.

An analyst downgrade helped push eBay down $4.31 to close at $53.88, while Amazon dropped $8.13, or 19 percent, to $33.88 on concerns from three respected analysts.

Amazon volume topped 51 million shares, more than eight times its average daily volume, making it the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq.

Jeff Logsdon, director of research at WR Hambrecht, explained that "there's some cyclicality to investor sentiment, and it's traditionally not at its high ebb in the summer," he said. "(Investors) have to wait it out, look for good companies, and hope to make some money."

Indeed, there was some money to be made today. The initial public offering of Accelerated Networks, a company that transmits data over a single broadband network, was the biggest percentage gainer on the Nasdaq. The shares jumped $32.88, or 219 percent, to $47.88. Volume topped 14.2 million shares.

Meanwhile, The Philadelphia semiconductor index rose 6.97 to 1,217.28, led by chip designer Rambus, which gained $17.56, or 18 percent, to close at $114.69. The stock rose about 38 percent this week and hit a new 52-week intra-day trading high today of $127 a share.

An analyst said Rambus' deal to license its technology to Hitachi for use in standard memory could pave the way for the company to generate $1 billion in revenue by 2003.

America Online fell $3.06 to $53.44 while Time Warner dropped $4.06 to $77.56. Shareholders today approved the megamerger of the two companies.

Shareholders of WorldCom and Sprint, however, may not see the completion of their planned merger. Many analysts think the European Commission will block the deal because it stifles competition in the fast-growing Internet industry. WorldCom shares fell $1.25 to $37.75, while Sprint rose 19 cents to $59.81.