Stocks Fall On Semiconductor, Political Concerns

Stocks fell Wednesday on news that the semiconductor equipment sector experienced its worst month ever in April. The defection of a Republican Senator threatened to put the Senate in Democratic hands.

The ISDEX fell 14 to 282, and the Nasdaq dropped 70 to 2243. The S&P 500 lost 20 to 1289, and the Dow fell 151 to 11,105. Volume rose to 1.33 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 1.86 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 20 to 10 on the NYSE, and 23 to 14 on the Nasdaq. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar at and reported earnings at For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site at

Semiconductor stocks lost 5% after the equipment book-to-bill ratio came in at 0.42, the lowest reading ever. Applied Materials lost 3.57 to 53.02, and Novellus fell 4.13 to 52.79. TriQuint and Sawtek , which are merging, both issued profit warnings.

Nortel lost .37 to 15.23 after Merrill Lynch raised the stock’s risk rating on cash burn concerns. fell .70 to 15.55 after saying that achieving profitability in the fourth quarter will take “hard work.”

Tut Systems soared 1.40 to 3.43 on a deal with ALLTEL .

RSA Security plunged 4.03 to 23.23 on accounting concerns.

TMP Worldwide rose 2.18 to 60.03 on news that it will join the S&P 500. NVIDIA gave back strong early gains to close down .79 to 92.11 after beating estimates by a penny.

Dell climbed .78 to 26.72 after being named to Goldman Sachs’s recommended list, but Micron lost .56 to 40.26 after receiving the same distinction.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: We include charts in the technical market commentary. If you can’t get the charts via the e-mail newsletter version, try this link:

The market turn may have arrived right on schedule, but it could still turn up tomorrow. Today didn’t look like a one-day pullback however; the semiconductor stocks, which usually lead the Nasdaq, fell 5% today. The S&P 500 closed right at its September downtrend line today (first chart) and doesn’t have too much more downside without falling below that line. The index could still find support in the 1264-1280 range, however. The Nasdaq (second chart) could fall to 2200 without going back below its September downtrend line, but the index did fall back below its January bottom of 2252, a negative. 2235 could provide support. The Dow (third chart) isn’t too far from important 11,000-11,035 support. If the index can’t hold that level, this pullback could be stronger than expected. 11,400 is critical resistance.

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