Goldman Pulls The Plug On Chip Sector

Chip stocks were under pressure after hours Monday on reports that Goldman Sachs was downgrading the sector to “neutral” from “attractive.”

Goldman downgraded Applied Materials and Novellus , while upgrading “defensive” names like KLA-Tencor .

It is not clear what motivated the downgrades, but chip stocks were weak during the day despite an industry report detailing strong sales.

Also after the close, J2 Global met estimates, and Quantum beat estimates.

The broader market was mixed during the day on weaker than expected manufacturing and construction reports.

The Nasdaq lost 3 to 2063, the S&P 500 rose 4 to 1135, and the Dow gained 11 to 10,499. Volume declined to 1.58 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.93 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-15 on the NYSE, while decliners led 17-15 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 57% on the NYSE, and 40% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 243-6 on the NYSE, and 175-10 on the Nasdaq.

Cisco rose ahead of its earnings report, due out after the close Tuesday. Analysts expect the company to earn 17 cents a share, up from 15 cents a year ago, but after blow-out quarters from Nortel and Juniper , investors will likely be expecting more.

Agere rose 3% on a $200 million deal.

Lionbridge gained 8% after raising guidance.

Red Hat fell 5% on a negative article in Barron’s.

And PeopleSoft prepared for a March showdown with Oracle .

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