Symantec, Cisco Lead Tech Stocks Lower

Outlooks from Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Symantec (NASDAQ: CSCO) that weren’t quite as strong as investors were hoping for led to a round of profit-taking on Thursday.

Cisco shares slipped 3.4% despite better than expected earnings and sales, while Symantec tumbled 15% after the company missed sales estimates.

Investors took the lackluster reports as an excuse to take profits in companies that will be reporting results later this month, as HP (NYSE: HPQ), Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) all ended the day sharply lower.

Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) fell 7% ahead of its results due out after the close — which turned out to be better than expected.

The entire chip sector lost 6%, with AMD (NYSE: AMD) down 7% and Micron (NYSE: MU) off by 8.7%.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) got hit by profit-taking, while CryptoLogic (NASDAQ: CRYP) tumbled 19% on its results.

The broader market fell despite better than expected retail sales, as a weak treasury auction spooked investors. Also weighing on stocks were worries about the government’s “stress tests” of banks to be released after the close and Friday’s monthly government jobs report.

The Nasdaq lost 42 to 1716, the S&P 500 fell 12 to 907, and the Dow lost 102 to 8409. Volume rose to 9.1 billion shares on the NYSE, and 3.3 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 24-13 margin on the NYSE, and 18-9 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 69% on the NYSE, and 79% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 27-79 on the NYSE, and 26-16 on the Nasdaq.

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