Chips, Networkers Lead Stocks Lower

Semiconductor and communications equipment stocks led the market lower on Monday, as investors remained jittery ahead of third-quarter earnings reports in October.

Avici plunged 32% after the company warned that it will miss estimates due to order delays from AT&T . Prudential downgraded the communications equipment sector to neutral, saying that business appears to have stalled at Nortel and that Lucent may miss revenue estimates.

Morgan Stanley downgraded the chip sector on expectations for slowing revenues and rising warnings, and Pacific Crest said it saw broad signs of weakness at Taiwan Semi in September.

The broader market followed tech stocks lower as crude oil neared the $50 a barrel mark. The Dow closed back below 10,000.

The Nasdaq lost 19 to 1859, the S&P 500 fell 6 to 1103, and the Dow declined 58 to 9988. Volume was unchanged at 1.26 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 1.32 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 21-11 on the NYSE, and 22-8 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 75% on the NYSE, and 80% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 124-59 on the NYSE, and 46-78 on the Nasdaq.

Microsoft slipped as the software giant tried to negotiate an antitrust settlement with the EU ahead of hearings this week.

Persistence Software soared 48% on news that it will be acquired by Progress Software .

Perot Systems jumped 7% after raising guidance.

Intelligroup plunged 31% on plans to restate its results from 2001-2003.

ESS Technology fell 8% on a warning.

8×8 gained 12% on news that it will offer its VoIP services on .

And the quiet period for Google ends Tuesday, which means that analysts can begin releasing their investment ratings on the stock.

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