Tech Stocks Lead Market Pullback

Tech stocks fell for a second day Monday, as Dell’s cautious outlook continued to weigh on the sector.

Dell followed Friday’s 13% decline with another 2.4% loss. Blue chip stocks fell after weak auto sales and manufacturing data added to slowdown concerns, despite an early boost on word of a government plan to help subprime borrowers refinance their mortgages.

Still, the latest batch of economic data added to the chances of another interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve when it meets on Dec. 11, but Friday’s monthly jobs report could prove pivotal in that decision. Stocks soared last week after the Fed’s top two officials suggested that more rate cuts might be on the way to help ease the growing credit market crisis.

E*Trade fell 10% on a Bank of America downgrade on falling brokerage assets, and VeriFone plunged 46% on accounting troubles.

Activision was a bright spot, surging 13% on a merger with Vivendi Games. The news sent competitors like Take-Two higher, while The9 fell on competition concerns.

IBM edged higher on a $1 billion buyback.

Research In Motion fell 8% on a downgrade, and Broadcom tacked on 1% on an upgrade.

Bearingpoint tumbled on its results, and Motorola shed 3% on worries in the wake of the departure of CEO Ed Zander.

The Nasdaq lost 23 to 2637, the S&P fell 8 to 1472, and the Dow shed 57 to 13,314. Volume fell to 3.32 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 20-13 margin on the NYSE, and 20-10 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 66% on the NYSE, and 65% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 59-149 on the NYSE, and 74-165 on the Nasdaq.

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