A Blowout From AMAT

Applied Materials put to rest any doubts about the health of the chip equipment sector with a strong earnings report after the close on Wednesday.

Earnings of 12 cents a share beat estimates by 4 cents, and revenues of $1.56 billion came in well ahead of $1.32 billion forecasts. AMAT also predicted 30% sequential growth in new orders.

Also after the close, Intuit beat estimates but warned, and Omnivision blew away estimates.

Stocks sagged during the day on weaker than expected housing reports.

The Nasdaq slipped 3 to 2076, the S&P 500 lost 5 to 1151, and the Dow fell 42 to 10,671. Volume declined to 1.37 billion shares on the NYSE, but rose to 1.79 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 20-12 on the NYSE, and 18-13 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 67% on the NYSE, and 56% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 265-3 on the NYSE, and 208-7 on the Nasdaq.

Rambus continued to take investors on a roller coaster ride, soaring 35% on a U.S. antitrust win just days after plunging on an adverse European patent decision.

Netease soared 25% on better than expected results, and Broadcom jumped 10% after raising guidance.

Network Appliance rose 6% after beating estimates, while Agilent fell 4% after missing estimates.

Extreme rose 3% on reports that Juniper may be interested in acquiring the company to further challenge Cisco .

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