It was a bell-to-bell rout on Wall Street Friday as continued economic concerns and IBM’s disappointing earnings results
fueled a selloff that left major U.S. stock indexes at their lowest point of the year.
The Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P 500 started trading in the red and finished even redder, despite positive earnings news
from General Electric and Citigroup.
While the tech-heavy Nasdaq took the biggest percentile hit on Friday — dropping 39 points, or 2.0 percent, to 1,908 —
the Dow Jones caused the biggest buzz among traders by posting its third consecutive triple-digit loss. The industrial index
ended trading down 191 points, or 1.9 percent, to 10088. The S&P 500 fell 19 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1143.
shares on Friday plunged 6.94, or 8.3 percent, to 76.70 after announcing late Thursday first-quarter earnings that
were below analysts’ estimates. Big Blue’s Q1 net income was $1.4 billion, or 85 cents per share, up from 79 cents per
share in Q1 2004. But analysts expected net income of 90 cents per share. IBM’s revenue of $22.9 billion also fell short
of Q1 projections calling for $23.7 billion in sales.
Another tech heavyweight, server maker Sun Microsystems
, dropped 30 cents, or 7.6 percent, to 3.66 after reporting
third-quarter revenue of $2.625 billion, slightly below last year’s $2.65 billion Q3 revenue.
tumbled 91 cents, or 4.2 percent, to 20.84. The computer maker’s stock may have been adversely
affected by research reports released Friday concluding that the global PC market was soft in the first quarter of this year.
Even the winners were stingily rewarded by investors Friday. Citigroup
gained a scant 35 cents, or 0.8 percent, to finish
at 45.75. The financial giant announced before trading that its net income had climbed 3 percent to a record $5.44 billion.
And General Electric
inched up 25 cents, or 0.7 percent, to 35.75 after posting a 25 percent increase in first-quarter
profit over last year’s Q1. The multi-industry conglomerate reported net income of $4.04 billion, or 38 cents per share,
compared to $3.24 billion in Q1 2004.
In economic news, the surge in crude-oil prices pushed overall import prices up 1.8 percent, according to the Labor
Department. It was the biggest one-month hike in more than two years.