National Semi No Help for Techs

Better than expected results from National Semi were little help for tech stocks Thursday, as the market fell once again on interest rate concerns.

National Semi’s February quarter earnings of 37 cents a share were a nickel ahead of estimates. Sales rose 22% to $547.7 million, also ahead of forecasts, and the company boosted current quarter sales guidance and reported strong bookings and gross margins too.

But investors acted like they think things can’t get any better. NSM shares lost 3% on the day, and the Nasdaq lost nearly 1%.

Also weighing on the market were global interest rate worries, with the U.S., Europe and Japan all removing liquidity at the same time for the first time in many years. Investors will be watching Friday’s U.S. unemployment report carefully for signs that the Federal Reserve can be less aggressive with its rate hike campaign. Concerns about protectionism in the wake of congressional opposition to the Dubai-U.S. ports deal also weighed on stocks.

The Nasdaq fell 17 to 2249, the S&P 500 lost 6 to 1272, and the Dow gave back 33 to 10,972. Volume declined to 2.14 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 17-14 on the NYSE, and 17-12 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 65% on the NYSE, and 65% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 89-41 on the NYSE, and 86-44 on the Nasdaq.

Intuit gained 7% after raising guidance.

Sun climbed 4% on a Lehman upgrade.

Wind River tumbled 20% after missing estimates.

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