RealTime IT News

Tech Freefall Continues

Tech stocks plunged for the third straight day Friday, as traders continued to fret about a slowdown in IT spending.

The Nasdaq has shed 200 points, or 7%, in three days on fears that the subprime mortgage market meltdown is causing financial, automotive and other sectors to pull back on technology investment. It was the worst week for the Nasdaq since 2002.

Cisco Systems, which confirmed those fears earlier this week, lost another 3.5% Friday on top of a 9.5% loss Thursday.

As Friday's selling went, Cisco fared pretty well. IBM, Oracle and Apple lost 5% each, and Research In Motion tumbled 9%.

But unlike Thursday's lopsided selling, there were a number of bright spots on Friday. Chip equipment stocks were up on bullish comments from Citigroup and JP Morgan about Applied Materials, which gained 4.5%.

But the day's biggest winner was Priceline.com, which soared 23% after crushing estimates on strong bookings. Hutchinson was another big earnings gainer, up 15%.

The wireless sector seemed to attract the brunt of the selling Friday. Qualcomm fell 4% on disappointing guidance, while Leap Wireless plunged 37% on an earnings restatement and Clearwire tumbled 25% after Sprint ended the companies' wireless broadband partnership.

The Nasdaq fell 68 to 2627, the S&P fell 21 to 1453, and the Dow lost 223 to 13,042. Volume declined to 4.6 billion shares on the NYSE, and 3 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 24-9 margin on the NYSE, and 20-10 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 70% on the NYSE, and 80% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 34-407 on the NYSE, and 51-335 on the Nasdaq.