While

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Oracle Corporation Report

officers chatted up the industry at their OpenWorld conference today in San Francisco, the software company's shares plummeted on the

Nasdaq

. What pressured the golden stock?

Weighed down by Oracle, the Nasdaq ended the day in

negative territory.

Oracle finished down $9.25, or 11.75%, to close at $69.50. The Nasdaq continued its sickly performance, closing down 113.07, or 3.17%, to 3455.83. The

Street.com

Internet sector index closed down 38.80, or 5.72%, to 639.07.

Last night, Oracle forecast a lift in short term demand for its products, and hinted at a strong second quarter.

Although Oracle's latest quarterly earnings report beat the Street by 4 cents, it also showed lower-than-expected growth in the sales of its application software. Others worry that the company's valuation is too high, at about 80 times its 2001 earnings estimates. The stock hit its 52-week pinnacle of $92.93 on Sept. 1 and has been trading in a narrow range since.

Commerce One

(CMRC)

fell after being downgraded by a

Jefferies

analyst to hold from accumulate for being too expensive and gaining 41% in seven weeks

Other than the normal paranoia that has been pervading the market of late, investors had little reason to sell Oracle. Among the nuggets of good news trumpeted at the conference was that Oracle was

chosen one of the technology platform providers for

Covisint

, the Internet exchange being launched by the auto industry.

Rational Software was another rock in the Nasdaq's leaden shoe. It lost 26% on the day, with its most precipitous fall in the last 10 minutes of trading. As the company watched its stock lose a quarter of its value and billions in market cap, it quietly reminded investors at the session's end that it will release second-quarter financials next Wednesday. It was a neutral gesture but the only one the company could make during its quiet period, when public comments are not allowed.

Broadband communications service provider

Covad Communications

(COVD)

was also spanked 17% today, even after announcing that it has reached its third-quarter goal of more than 200,000 lines installed, beating Wall Street estimates by 30 percent.

It seems like investors shrugged off the small change news and focused on the

Fed

, taking profits on big-cap technology stocks after interests rates were left unchanged today.

3:52 p.m.: Cisco Rises on Positive News

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

was basking in the glow of positive comments from Abby Joseph Cohen today. The Goldman Sachs guru named the stock among her top picks in the course of generally favorable remarks on the tech sector. Cohen bases her positive outlook on lower prices and more-reasonable valuations. She particularly favors three tech segments: storage systems providers, network equipment suppliers and software companies.

Other good news was also buoying Cisco's stock price: The company¿s backlog quadrupled to $3.8 billion. It recently opened a new plant to meet the ballooning demand. Cisco was lately trading $2.86 higher, to $58.97.

Not everyone was having such a good day, however.

TheStreet.com Internet Index

(DOT)

limped 4.9% lower.

Online advertising firm

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

took some air out of the DOT, dropping 8% on its plans to buy

NetCreations

(NTCR)

in a deal valued at roughly $174 million. Analysts are concerned about DoubleClick's unwillingness to use cash for the deal. They are also worried about underlying business trends and NetCreations's earnings estimates -- the company guided the analyst consensus lower last month. DoubleClick hit a 52-week-low of $26.75 earlier in the session.

TheStreet Recommends

Shares of the three companies that call themselves "

the Alliance" did some synchronized diving today.

Ariba

(ARBA)

,

IBM

(IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report

and

i2

(ITWO)

fell sharply lower, down 8.6%, 5.5% and 10.2%, respectively.

There has been speculation that overlapping competition is making the partnership between Ariba and i2 tenuous. While the rumor was refuted in this morning¿s Dain Rauscher Wessels research note, doubts lingered. IBM fell despite announcing that it would rebrand its line of servers to compete with Sun Micro System¿s Unix servers.

12:46 p.m. EDT: Xerox Violently Ill but Quarantined as Tech Shows Strength

Et tu,

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Xerox Holdings Corporation (XRX) Report

?

Xerox shares fell more than 20% after joining the Wall Street disappointers gang. Last night the world's largest copier company warned of a third-quarter loss of 15 cents to 20 cents a share due to slow September sales and the currency we all love to hate, the euro.

Unlike the contagious debacle of warnings by

Intel

(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation (INTC) Report

and

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report

, Xerox managed to contain its misery. After all, misery for Xerox is no surprise.

PC makers shrugged off the bad news. And small gains by the semiconductor sector were fueled by a bullish report from the

Semiconductor Industry Association

, which cited a 53% rise in semiconductor sales. Strong demand for Internet and wireless equipment propelled sales to an industry high of $18 billion in August.

When

Goldman Sachs

market strategist Abby Joseph Cohen talks, tech stocks listen. Today she gave the

Nasdaq an initial lift after forecasting a tech comeback in the next several weeks.

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report

newest strategy is to kill its competition with kindness. What else would you call its $135 million investment in troubled Canadian competitor

Corel

(CORL)

, which makes software based on the freely distributed Linux operating system?

Corel usually rallies on Microsoft's misfortunes along with other Linux cohorts, such as

Red Hat

(RHAT)

and

VA Linux

(LNUX)

. Today Corel was soaring $2.53, or 68.6%, to $6.22, while Microsoft was down 63 cents to $58.50.

In exchange for the cash infusion, Microsoft gets 24 million nonvoting convertible preferred shares at $5.62 each or a 24.6% stake in Corel. It will not gain voting rights in the company. Corel will get to use Microsoft's Web applications for applications including CorelDraw, WordPerfect and Linux platforms by late 2001.