Techs Pace Market Decline

Tech stocks led the market lower on Wednesday, as inquiries into the timing of stock option grants continued to hit the sector.

Marvell , Maxim and Zoran fell on news of inquiries into their stock option grant practices, while Quest Software said it will restate past results after an investigation into its stock option practices.

Opsware , meanwhile, fell 7% on news that its CFO will face SEC action for stock option and other accounting issues that occurred while at Mercury Interactive .

The broader market was dragged lower by North Korean missile tests, rising oil prices and an unexpected jump in factory orders that sent bonds tumbling.

The Nasdaq tumbled 37 to 2153, the S&P 500 lost 9 to 1270, and the Dow fell 76 to 11,151. Volume declined from Friday’s levels to 2.17 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.66 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 23-9 on the NYSE, and 20-9 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 76% on the NYSE, and 85% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 69-83 on the NYSE, and 69-64 on the Nasdaq.

Rambus gained 6.7% on a licensing deal with Toshiba.

Atheros and Trident tumbled on downgrades.

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