Tech Stocks Plunge on Slowdown Fears

Stocks plunged on economic worries Thursday, as persistently high unemployment and stalled manufacturing had investors wondering just how robust any recovery will be.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) stirred things up with the $3 billion acquisition of Tandberg — news that sent Tandberg rival and Cisco partner Radvision (NASDAQ: RVSN) plunging by a third.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) tumbled 7 percent on reports that it may be interested in acquiring a majority stake in NBC Universal from GE (NYSE: GE).

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), RF Micro (NASDAQ: RFMD) and Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) were some of the Nasdaq’s weaker names on the worst day for the stock market in three months. JP Morgan downgraded Nvidia, citing concern about the company’s chipset business and competition from AMD (NYSE: AMD), and Qualcomm fell on a licensing setback in Japan.

Xyratex (NASDAQ: XRTX) was a rare exception, surging 19 percent on better than expected quarterly results.

A weaker than expected national manufacturing reading — while still growing — and persistently high jobless claims had investors on edge a day before the U.S. government’s monthly unemployment report.

Technology earnings reports won’t begin in earnest until the week of October 12, when Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) will be among the names offering insight into the state of technology spending.

The Nasdaq plunged 65 to 2057, the S&P 500 lost 27 to 1029, and the Dow tumbled 203 to 9509. Volume rose to 5.79 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.74 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 30-6 margin on the NYSE, and 22-4 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 95 percent on the NYSE, and 93 percent on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 163-34 on the NYSE, and 42-17 on the Nasdaq.

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