Micron’s Mixed Results Cap Down Day for Stocks

Stocks fell for the fourth time in five sessions on Tuesday, and how they fare on Wednesday could have much to do with how traders view quarterly results from Micron Technology (NYSE: MU).

After the close, Micron reported a wider than expected loss on stronger than expected sales, so while the company experienced steep declines in NAND and DRAM selling prices, it nonetheless experienced better than expected demand for its products.

Micron reported an adjusted loss of 72 cents a share, significantly worse than the expected loss of 45 cents a share. But sales of $1.4 billion, though down 9%, were well above $1.32 billion estimates. The company’s cash fell $334 million in the quarter, to $1.028 billion, and it announced steep cuts in capital expenditures.

Micron shares lost 5% after hours after falling 9.6% ahead of the report.

The stock market fell during the day on a dismal existing home sales report.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) gained 2.5% even as the weakest holiday sales season in decades limped toward the finish line, but eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) fell 3.4% on reports of falling traffic.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) jumped 8.5% on better than expected results.

Nortel (NYSE: NT) gained on reports that it could sell its metro Ethernet business.

Axsys (NASDAQ: AXYS) jumped 13% on a Morgan Keegan upgrade.

Chip stocks were weak ahead of Micron’s report, with Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT), Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN), Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) and Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) among the names trading lower.

The Nasdaq lost 10 to 1521, the S&P fell 8 to 863, and the Dow lost 100 to 8419. Volume fell to 4.15 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.33 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 23-15 margin on the NYSE, and 18-10 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 70% on the NYSE, and 69% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 7-118 on the NYSE, and 13-119 on the Nasdaq.

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