Google Tumbles on Patent Fight

The stock market stumbled again Friday, ending 2005 on a lackluster note.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index posted its first yearly loss since 2002 while the tech heavy NASDAQ ended the year with nominal gains.

For the day, the NASDAQ tumbled 11 points to 2,207 amid concerns over the continuing inversion in the Treasury yield curve, rising oil prices and a reported patent lawsuit against Google . In December, the NASDAQ fell 28 points.

Despite the rocky slide in December, the NASDAQ finished up 28 points over 2004’s close of 2,175, a gain of 1.4 percent. It was the third straight year the NASDAQ posted an annual gain.

Google stock fell by $5.29 a share after news that Rates Technology, a patent holding company, filed a $5 billion patent suit against the search giant. Rates claims Google infringed its Voice over IP patents in rolling out the Google Talk service.

A Google spokesman issued a statement saying, “We believe the lawsuit is without merit, and we will defend against it vigorously.”

For the day, Google closed at $414.86 to end a year that saw its stock price more than double after closing 2004 at $192.79.

Apple was another big winner in 2005 as sales of its popular iPod players continued to surge. Like Google, Apple saw its stock price double in 2005, closing the year at $71.89.

Intel , though, ended the year on a down note, falling 11 cents to $24.96 a share after investors were apparently unimpressed by news of a marketing
for the semiconductor bellwether.

Computer maker Dell was one of tech’s big losers in 2005 with shares slumping 29 percent for the year. Dell closed the disappointing year at $29.95 a share.

Other poor performers in 2005 included VeriSign and Symantec . VeriSign closed at $21.90, down 35 percent from its 2004 close while Symantec posted a final 2005 mark of $17.50, down
32 percent from last year.

Total volume on the NASDAQ Friday was 1.3 billion shares with decliners outpacing advancers, 1,752 to 1,323.

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