Widespread selling hammered the markets again Friday as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 616 points to 10,307.32 while the Nasdaq composite tumbled 357 points to end at 3,320.04.
In the span of five trading days, the tech-laden Nasdaq shed more than 1,100 points, by far its biggest one-week loss in history.
Some investors are calling this the beginning of a bear market while others are calling it an excellent buying opportunity.
"I wouldn't even try to figure out how low it could go," said Larry Rice, chief investment officer at Josephthal Lyon & Ross of the Nasdaq. "The market got carried away to the extreme on the upside and now it is going to get carried away to the extreme on the downside. The Dow coming down does not surprise me because it has been going up like a rocketship in the past few weeks."
Already nervous investors were perplexed by the Consumer Price Index, which rose 0.7 percent in March, stronger than its 0.5 percent increase in February and above the 0.4 percent gain predicted by analysts.
Technology stocks of all colors and stripes were pummeled as investors decided that cash was the safest haven for now. Even companies that posted strong quarterly earnings were thrashed in the sell-off.
Emulex Corp. (Nasdaq: EMLX) was sliced in half Friday, falling 41 1/4 to 41 11/16 despite topping estimates in its third quarter. Analysts blamed the dip on the markets, and slowing growth in the company's fibre channel business.
Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) tumbled 16 15/16 to 158 1/16 after it announced a stock-split along with earnings that beat the Street's forecasts.
Even Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW), which posted quarterly sales of $4 billion and beat the consensus number by 3 cents a share, found few fans. Its shares closed up a mere 1/4 to 78 as one of the few tech stocks that managed to finish in the black.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) shed 4 25/32 to 74 15/32. Oracle Corp. (ORCL) dropped 9 7/16 to 62 1/2 and Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) closed off 4 1/8 to 57.
PMC-Sierra (Nasdaq: PMCS) which also reported better-than-expected results, slid 9 1/16 to 116 1/2. Applied Micro Circuits (Nasdaq: AMCC) fell 20 7/16 to 71 1/2 and Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) lost 21 13/16 to 122 1/4.
Among widely held Internet stocks, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) dropped 20 1/8 to 116; Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) trimmed 1 1/8 to 46 7/8; Lycos Inc. (LCOS) fell 6 to 38 3/16; America Online Inc. (AOL) plunged 4 9/16 to 54 11/16 and eBay Inc. (EBAY) closed up 25/32 to 139 19/32.
Gateway (NYSE: GTW) fell 9/16 to 51 7/16 after it posted first-quarter earnings in line with First Call's estimate. Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) dropped 4 1/16 to 47 5/8 while Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) and Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) shed 1 7/8 and 2 1/4 a share, respectively.
Electronics manufacturer Solectron Corp. (NYSE: SLR) lost 2 7/8 to 38 1/8 after announcing it will eliminate 850 jobs, or more than 10 percent of its total work force.
Intel Corp. (INTC) was hammered, closing off 10 3/4 to 110 3/8. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) lost 4 7/16 to 66 9/16 and IBM Corp. (IBM) shed 6 5/8 to 104 after telling the Street it expects flat revenue in its first quarter.