Chip Stocks No Match for Financial Woes

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) fueled a rally in semiconductor shares on Thursday, but the rest of the market got crushed under the weight of a huge loss at insurance giant AIG (NYSE: AIG).

Intel shares rose nearly 4% after Citigroup said it found strong demand for the company’s Atom chips in field checks in Japan. The news sent rival AMD (NYSE: AMD) 4.8% higher and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (PHI: SOX) 1.5% higher.

But the good news couldn’t save the Nasdaq from a 1% loss — or the Dow from a 2% loss, as AIG’s results, a Citigroup (NYSE: C) legal settlement, disappointing retail sales and a six-year high in jobless claims all overshadowed an unexpected jump in pending home sales. Fannie Mae’s (NYSE: FNM) quarterly results Friday morning will likely keep the focus on the year-long housing and financial market crisis.

Still, a number of tech stocks finished the day with gains, among them Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), HP (NYSE: HPQ), Micron (NYSE: MU), Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL), SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK), Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT), Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) and Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO).

Sprint (NYSE: S) surged after canceling a convertible offering.

VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) lost more than 12% despite beating estimates, as analysts fretted about the pace of a reorganization at the company.

Pomeroy (NASDAQ: PMRY) surged on its results, while UTStarcom (NASDAQ: UTSI) fell on its earnings report.

The Nasdaq lost 22 to 2355, the S&P fell 23 to 1266, and the Dow tumbled 224 to 11,431. Volume rose to 5.28 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 2.28 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 25-8 margin on the NYSE, and 18-9 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 80% on the NYSE, and 66% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 20-113 on the NYSE, and 55-103 on the Nasdaq.

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