RealTime IT News

Stocks Stumble on Slowdown Fears

Stocks fell again Wednesday, as a profit warning from UPS and dire assessments of the health of the economy kept investors on the defensive ahead of what will likely be a tough first-quarter earnings season.

Former Fed chairman Paul Volcker and billionaire investor George Soros were the latest market luminaries to issue warnings about the unfolding financial and economic crisis facing the U.S.

Microsoft's battle to acquire Yahoo once again dominated the tech sector, as reports surfaced that Yahoo is considering running Google ads and Microsoft leveled anti-trust charges against such a pairing. Legg Mason fund manager Bill Miller came to Yahoo's defense, saying that any lowered offer by Microsoft would be too low.

Intel gained 1.6% on a Wedbush Morgan "buy" rating. The chip giant will report its quarterly results April 15. Rival AMD rebounded 3.8%.

The warning from UPS hurt shares of Amazon.com, which fell 3.8%.

Websense gained 7% after raising guidance, while FormFactor fell 3% on a warning.

The Nasdaq lost 26 to 2322, the S&P fell 11 to 1354, and the Dow fell 49 to 12,527. Volume declined to 3.54 billion shares on the NYSE, and rose to 1.93 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 23-9 margin on the NYSE, and 21-7 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 78% on the NYSE, and 74% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 57-37 on the NYSE, and 44-103 on the Nasdaq.