HP, Dell Lead Tech Stocks Lower

Stocks tumbled Thursday on a surprisingly big sales miss from HP (NYSE: HPQ).

HP shares fell 8% on the news, and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), which will report its quarterly results next week, lost 6%.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), EMC (NYSE: EMC) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) were some of the other names taking sizable hits in the wake of HP’s earnings report, while Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) and Micron (NYSE: MU) led a very weak chip sector lower.

NPD Group reported that Apple’s U.S. retail computer unit sales fell last month for the first time in three years.

But not all stocks followed HP lower. Priceline (NASDAQ: PCLN) surged 16% on news that its Name Your Own Price business model is catching on in the tough economy, even as Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) fell 7% on its results.

Sprint (NYSE: S) soared 20% despite another big loss.

Synopsis (NASDAQ: SNPS) rose 7.5% after beating estimates, and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) rebounded 5% on analyst upgrades.

Vasco Data Security (NASDAQ: VDSI) plunged 29% on order delays.

The broader market slumped amid worries about the health of financial stocks, another week of high jobless claims, an unexpected jump in wholesale inflation and a steep drop in Mid-Atlantic manufacturing. The Dow closed at its lowest level since October 2002.

The Nasdaq lost 25 to 1442, the S&P 500 shed 9 to 778, and the Dow fell 89 to 7465. Volume declined to 6.63 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.06 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 26-11 margin on the NYSE, and 18-9 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 73% on the NYSE, and 80% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 5-338 on the NYSE, and 6-279 on the Nasdaq.

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