MARKET CLOSE: Nasdaq hits rock bottom

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Tech and financial stocks were roughed up again Wednesday as the Nasdaq composite tumbled 116 points to a 52-week low of 2,755.23. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 95 points to 10,399.32.

In the past three days, the Nasdaq composite has lost 9 percent of its value. On Wednesday alone, 615 stocks hit a new 52-week low.

"There is increasing evidence building that we are seeing a slowdown in demand for PCs, cell phones and other electronic devices," said Alan Skrainka, chief market strategist for Edward Jones of St. Louis. "Stocks that were priced for perfection are coming down sharply because we have less than a perfect environment."

Post-earnings comments from leading analysts crippled some technology stocks Wednesday as Portal Software (PRSF) plunged $11.88 to $6.75 after it topped estimates in its latest quarter but sales slowed.

CacheFlow (Nasdaq: CFLO) faced a similar sell-off, falling $39 to $37.81 after analysts suggested the pricey stock was a risk because of its lukewarm outlook.

Yahoo! (YHOO) shares fell another $3.50 to $38.19 while Amazon.com (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) bucked the trend, gaining 94 cents and $1.31 a share, respectively. America Online (AOL) shed $1.92 to $41.08 and CMGI (CMGI) dropped 88 cents to $10.06.

Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) lost after $4.31 to $48.88 after ABM AMRO downgraded the stock on revenue shifts. Intuit, however, topped estimates and most analysts were bullish about the upcoming quarter and outlook.

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) met expectations for its quarter, but investors weren't impressed. Its shares plunged $1.44 to a 52-week low of $6.

Microsoft (MSFT) closed up 44 cents to $68.19. Oracle (ORCL) lost $1.56 to $22.31 and Sun Microsystems (SUNW) closed off $5.13 to $80.

Among widely held PC stocks, Dell (DELL) clipped 63 cents to $23; Compaq (CPQ) lost 65 cents to $23.40; Gateway (GTW) slid $1.50 to $33.14 and Apple Computer (AAPL) closed off 31 cents to $18.50.

Intel (INTC) dipped $1.44 to $41.19. IBM (IBM) managed to remain unchanged at $98.50 and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) finished off 31 cents to $19.63.
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