Techs Finish Down on Mixed Results

Stocks finished modestly lower Friday, as weak New York state manufacturing and consumer sentiment reports and disappointing results from Best Buy did little to encourage buyers ahead of the long holiday weekend.

The tech sector closed lower despite big gains for and Brocade on their quarterly results, as slowdown fears and a chilly reception for NetSuite’s first public earnings report weighed on the sector.

Priceline shares soared 21% after the company beat estimates, and Brocade was up 13% on its results and an upgrade.

But NetSuite fell 10% after its first earnings report as a public company left investors fretting about decelerating growth. The company said it expects to grow sales more than 40% this year, in line with Wall Street expectations but less than last year’s 55% growth rate.

Best Buy fell 2.5% after lowering its 2008 earnings forecast amid softening demand, which weighed on shares of

Hittite Microwave and Arris Group lost more than 30% on their results.

Intel, Cisco and Apple were among the tech leaders trading lower on the day.

HP gained 1.4% ahead of its earnings report due out after the close on Tuesday. Analysts are looking for 10% sales growth to $27.6 billion and earnings of 81 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial. The report will be a critical one for analysts trying to assess the health of IT spending.

The Nasdaq lost 10 to 2321, the S&P added 1 to 1350, and the Dow slipped 28 to 12,348. Volume declined to 3.58 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.05 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 18-14 margin on the NYSE, and 18-10 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 51% on the NYSE, and 68% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 18-128 on the NYSE, and 38-149 on the Nasdaq.

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