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Dow and Nasdaq plummet

The stock market takes a nose dive, continuing its recent weakness.

The stock market took a nose dive today, continuing its recent weakness.

It was the blue chip average's third-largest point decline in history, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average's lowest close since March 5.

The Dow fell more than 299.43 points, or more than 3 percent, to close at 8,487.31. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also fell more than 3 percent, losing 65.46 to close at 1,785.64.

Both indexes have been trading at about six-week lows.

Most technology stocks were down, including IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Netscape, and Cisco. Most Internet stocks, which rallied earlier in the day, also retreated.

Wall Street analysts have cited stalled corporate earnings, the lingering Asian economic crisis, and cautionary comments about the market by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as reasons for concern.

Despite the markets' recent decline, some analysts have said that the downturn is not much more than a summertime correction. They argue that technology stocks in particular are poised for a robust return next year.

"The fundamentals are not that bad," said Ashok Kumar, a personal computer and workstation analyst with Piper Jaffray. "PC demand is not falling off the cliff by any means. Unit demand is fairly robust."

Kumar said also that short-term deflationary concerns are putting off consumer buying, but that the technology sector still has had a relatively solid year.

"Year-to-date, most of the major industries have had a decent run," he said. "The market fundamentals aren't that bad, so I think we'll see a rebound in late summer."

Among technology and Internet companies, America Online and Cisco posted quarterly results after the markets closed.

Reuters contributed to this report.