Stocks Battered Ahead of Tech Earnings

The Dow and S&P 500 fell to their lowest levels since March on Friday, as financial worries continued to send stocks skidding.

Ford (NYSE: F) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) were the latest to get hit by mounting credit concerns, and bank stocks fell to their lowest level since the 2002 lows.

Tech stocks have fared much better than their blue chip counterparts in recent months, but next week they will face a big test heading into the end of the quarter and the start of the earnings reporting period. Among the tech names reporting quarterly results next week are Jabil (NYSE: JBL) on Tuesday, Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) on Wednesday, and Micron (NYSE: MU) and Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) on Thursday.

The Federal Reserve will also meet next week, and investors will be watching the Fed’s policy statement closely to see how long the central bank is willing to put off raising interest rates to stem inflation.

SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) and Logitech (NASDAQ: LOGI) tumbled on downgrades.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) all fell 3% or more. (NASDAQ: SOHU) plunged 13% after lower its long-term outlook, and Smart Modular (NASDAQ: SMOD) fell 14% on an earnings warning.

The Nasdaq fell 55 to 2406, the S&P lost 25 to 1317, and the Dow tumbled 220 to 11,842. Volume rose to 5.3 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.7 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 27-6 margin on the NYSE, and 21-8 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 86% on the NYSE, and 84% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 45-295 on the NYSE, and 52-259 on the Nasdaq.

Note: The Market Close and Technical Analysis columns will be on hiatus next week and will return June 30.

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