MIDDAY MARKETS: Retail slump, NBCi depresses techs

3 min read

Surprisingly low retail sales data for May took the wind out of techs' sails at midday Tuesday. The Nasdaq shed 25.02 to 3742.89 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 5.31 to 10,558.90.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index fell 8 to 467.89.

Data that shows the economy is cooling should have been good news for investors, since it lessens chances the Fed will raise rates again. But Tuesday's data led to worries the economy may be decelerating faster than expected. Retail sales declined 0.3 percent last month, compared with a revised 0.6 drop in April, according to the Commerce Department.

NBCi (Nasdaq: NBCI) wasn't helping the Nasdaq either; the portal said Tuesday that second quarter revenue will be in line with the first quarter, but earnings will be about 10 cents a share to 15 cents a share lower than consensus estimates. Shares plunged 8 7/8 to 15 3/4, or 36 percent.

Companies tied to NBCi, including CNet (Nasdaq: CNET), down 3 7/8 to 30 3/16, and ValueVision (Nasdaq: VVTV), off 3 15/16 to 24 1/8, also took a hit.

Among other portal players, Go2Net (Nasdaq: GNET) was off 2 5/8 to 42 1/8, About.com (Nasdaq: BOUT) dropped 4 5/8 to 33 5/8 and Go.com (NYSE: GO) slipped 5/16 to 12 11/16.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 1 5/16 to 47 1/8, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) fell 3 9/16 to 133 7/8 and America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) dropped 3/4 to 52.

CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI), down 1 3/4 to 54 3/4, and Fatbrain.com (Nasdaq: FATB), down 3/16 to 9 13/16 will report earnings after the bell.

The dot-com consolidation continued with the announcement that Pets.com (Nasdaq: IPET), down 1/8 to 2 will take over the business of Petstore.com.

Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HWP) was also dragging on techs; shares were down 8 1/2 to 117 1/2, or 7 percent after a downgrade from Sanford Bernstein raised concerns that technology companies will not meet investors' expectations for profit growth.

U.S. computer giant Dell Computer Corp (Nasdaq: DELL) supremo Michael Dell on Tuesday confidently forecast a record year for the company. Shares dropped 3/16 to 44 11/16.

A couple of Bluetooth deals were also in the works; Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), down 3 1/16 to 143 5/8 said it will buy Innovent Systems, a maker circuits for Bluetooth technology for about $440 million in stock.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) fell 1/8 to 66 3/4. after it announced it will work with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), up 1 11/16 to 126 3/4 , on developing a standard to use Bluetooth wireless technology in connecting cellular phones with computers.

Home electronics retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) was even at 59 after it said fiscal first quarter profits jumped 54 percent to $72.16 million.

Among other leading tech issues: Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) gained 7/16 to 62 9/16 , Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) fell 15/16 to 89 7/16 and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) was down 1 1/16 to 79 1/2.