The stock market had another rough day on Thursday, but earnings reports after the close from technology bellwethers weren’t as bad as feared.
Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) met earnings estimates while missing sales forecasts, but analysts were upbeat about the results given the difficult currency environment the company faced. Sales of $5.61 billion were up 6%, but below $5.84 billion estimates.
Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) met lowered estimates — but then issued a much better than expected sales forecast for the current quarter. The company said it is having trouble meeting Storm demand.
Also after the close, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) beat estimates but lowered its sales outlook, while Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) posted a much wider than expected loss.
Oracle and Accenture edged higher after hours on their results, RIM was unchanged, and Palm shares tumbled 10%.
The major stock indexes fell 2% during the day after S&P lowered GE’s (NYSE: GE) credit outlook, and tumbling oil prices also weighed on the market.
The chip sector fell more than 5% after at least three analysts piled on the struggling sector. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM), Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) were among the names ending the day sharply lower.
But Micron (NYSE: MU) bucked the downtrend, soaring 20% despite Morgan Stanley cutting estimates on the company. Micron will report its quarterly results next week.
Take-Two (NASDAQ: TTWO) tumbled after lowering its outlook, and Silicon Image (NASDAQ: SIMG) plunged 23% on a Jefferies & Co. downgrade.
The Nasdaq lost 26 to 1552, the S&P lost 19 to 885, and the Dow plunged 219 to 8605. Volume rose to 6.32 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.09 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 22-15 margin on the NYSE, and 17-10 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 76% on the NYSE, and 76% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 24-85 on the NYSE, and 10-78 on the Nasdaq.