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MARKET CLOSE: Tech plunge continues

2 min read

Tech stocks ended this week the same they closed out the previous one -- going backwards.

The tech-saturated Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 111.06 to 3,361.04. The S&P 500 slid 27.29 to 1,408.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 128.38 to 10,596.54.

Inter@ctive Week's @100 Index fell 71.5 to 3,756.60.

Surprisingly strong job figures revived inflation fears and shook a market already nervous because of profit warnings issued this week by several companies.

The U.S. unemployment rate in September fell to 3.9 percent -- the lowest in 30 years, confounding Wall Street's expectations that it would remain at 4.1 percent. Analysts said the data may mean the U.S. central bank's campaign of rate increases may not have come to an end.

Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), battered in recent days after a revenue warning earlier this week, rose 0.125 to 25.3125 as one of the few gainers among the most active U.S. stocks. Merrill Lynch reiterated a "buy" rating and a $36 price target on the PC vendor, which just finished a two-day meeting with analysts.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) moved up 0.1875 to 55.5625. The software giant asked a federal court to give the company five months to prepare for an appeal in its antitrust case.

Wireless service provider Nextel Communications (Nasdaq: NXTL) advanced 0.6875 to 39.125. ING Barings upgraded the stock to a "strong buy" from a "buy" rating. W.R. Hambrecht & Co. also made positive comments about Nextel, describing its share price as "an extremely compelling valuation."

About.com (Nasdaq: BOUT) dipped 0.25 to 28. The network of websites said it expects to report a 30 percent sequential improvenment in third quarter revenue.

Concord Communications (Nasdaq: CCRD) plunged 12.375 to 9. The e-commerce software vendor warned of disappointing quarterly results.

Razorfish (Nasdaq: RAZF) dipped 3.75 to 5 after it warned that, like a growing list of Internet consultants, it would report disappointing results for the upcoming quarter.

Shares of Marimba (Nasdaq: MRBA) plunged 5.5 to 5.625 in morning trading, after warning investors that third quarter sales and earnings would miss expectations.

Hyperion Solutions Inc. (Nasdaq: HYSL) said Friday it will miss expectations for the quarter ending Sept. 30. Shares tumbled 7.375 to 12.

Veeco Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq: VECO) tumbled 34.96875 to 67.5625 after it announced preliminary results for the third quarter, and downwardly revised fourth quarter expectations. Its COO is also leaving.

Internet investment firm CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI), down 0.6875 to 20.8125, said Friday that it has enough cash on hand to last for two years.

An upbeat pre-announcement from MetaSolv Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: MSLV) boosted shares 5 to 24.625 after it announced earnings for its third quarter would be on target with analysts' expectations.