Networkers Struggle in Selloff

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Networking stocks struggled to gain traction on a slippery Wall Street, but with only limited success.

The group's major buoy was sinking slightly, despite the fact that investors are expecting it to report strong quarterly profits after the close.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

traded off 1 15/16 at 95 3/16. Its weakness showcases the strength of the market's selloff.

But

3Com

(COMS)

is up 1/2 at 24 1/2 after falling initially.

Ascend

(ASND) - Get Report

also defied the tide to rise 3/4 to 47 9/16 on renewed speculation about a takeover. The stock had fallen last week as investors fretted over rumors that it would acquire

Stratus Computer

(SRA)

, a deal which was announced Monday. Investors worried that the acquisition would prevent Ascend from eventually being acquired by telecom supplier

Lucent

(LU)

-- the expectation of many Ascend longs. But Ascend cut that risk by confirming plans to divest the parts of Stratus it doesn't need.

"I think people are saying, 'Oh they can still be bought by Lucent,'" said Mark Thiele, vice president with

First Investment Advisors

, an investment arm of

First Union

. "I think half the people that were in the stock were in it because it might get taken over." Of the group, his firm only owns shares in Cisco.

Lower-tier names such as

Cabletron

(CS) - Get Report

and

Bay Networks

(BAY)

fell 7/16 to 10 13/16 and 1 67/128 to 32 3/4, respectively.

For more info on institutional holders of these stocks, as well as financial statements and earnings estimates, please see the

Thomson Company Reports.