Tech Stocks Slip on Sun, Cisco Merger Troubles

News that two high-profile mergers may be in trouble weighed on the tech sector on Tuesday, but blue chips managed to close the day with a small gain.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) said it might withdraw its offer to acquire Tandberg after only 9.4 percent of shareholders had tendered their shares, as some shareholders are seeking a higher price, and the blockbuster merger of Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is running into stiff opposition from European regulators.

The Nasdaq finished the day fractionally lower, while the big-cap Nasdaq 100 ended modestly higher.

Priceline (NASDAQ: PCLN) soared 17.6 percent after reporting a 33 percent jump in travel bookings and handily beating Wall Street estimates.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) ticked higher ahead of its quarterly results. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), HP (NYSE: HPQ), NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) and Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) will also report earnings this month.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) were strong, rising about 3 percent each.

The Nasdaq lost 3 to 2151, the S&P 500 was unchanged at 1093, and the Dow added 20 to 10,246. Volume declined to 4.39 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.01 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 17-12 margin on the NYSE, and 18-8 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 57 percent on the NYSE, and 78 percent on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 225-37 on the NYSE, and 88-48 on the Nasdaq.

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