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Nasdaq Composite Indexand the

Dow Jones Industrial Average were walloped today as both ended solidly lower.

The Nasdaq was on the downside all day -- and ended at about session lows -- but the Dow had a volatile session, even at one point crossing the flatline for a brief visit to the green.

Tech stocks were again out of favor. Bad news from software maker



and PC-giant



helped sparked today's selloff.

Dell was under pressure from

reports that it was cutting expenses by up to 10% and that it may cut as many as 4,000 jobs.

Oracle was the victim of some cautious comments from

Morgan Stanley

analyst Chuck Phillips after he had a tete-a-tete over dinner with CEO Larry Ellison, who talked of weakness in the company's database business. Also, Ellison sold about 27 million shares, worth about $850 million, between Jan. 22 and Jan. 29, according to filings with the

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Securities & Exchange Commission





continues to bleed, down 6% to $28.19. It was the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq for the third straight day, and it hit a new 52-week low today. In a post-close announcement Tuesday, the company

announced that it missed earnings targets for the first time in three years and gave a murky forecast for the future.

The ever-troubled communications-equipment maker



took a beating, after the

The Wall Street Journal

reported this morning that it is being investigated by the

Securities and Exchange Commission

for possible fraudulent accounting practices. Regulators are looking at the company's booking sales procedures and software-licensing agreements. Specifically, the SEC is investigating whether Lucent improperly booked $679 million in revenue during its 2000 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. The stock was off 9.1% to $15.36.

But that news wasn't any huge surprise. Lucent already did its own investigation of the revenue booking and in December restated its financial results to eliminate the $679 million in revenue. And with so much bad news already priced into the stock, investors probably wonder how much further it can fall.

After five disappointing quarters, a string of high-level executive firings and a round of lower-level layoffs, the company's stock price is already down 78% from the highs of last year.

took a look at Lucent's

approach to accounting early on, and has been following Lucent's

other woes.

Finnish mobile-phone maker



was off 6.8% after

UBS Warburg

removed the mobile-phone giant from its list of top 10 global technology stock picks. That move helped put drag on the overseas markets, with Nokia falling 9% in Europe.

Also not looking good today was

Power One


, which makes power supply systems, on news that it was lowering its 2001growth estimates. The company cited slowing business and inventory reductions by its customers, particularly the aforementioned Cisco. It ended down 10.7% to $28.75.

One shining star was network storage systems maker

Network Appliance


, which was up 8% to $38 after its earnings report last night. The bounce was a nice relief from the drag it experienced this week after being caught up in the Cisco conundrum.

The company reported fiscal third-quarter earnings that beat estimates after the market closed Thursday. But the company's sales came in a bit below forecasts, an uncharacteristic shortfall for a company well-positioned in one of the fastest growing technology markets. It is yet another sign that corporations aren't spending as freely on tech gear as they once were.'s

Thomas Lepri

took a look at

what the report means for Network Appliance.

Meanwhile, the Dow was under pressure from



, which took about 20 points away from the index. Yesterday, the software behemoth got a downgrade from

Merrill Lynch

with a warning about the maturing PC market.

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Sector Watch

Defensives relished this latest bit of weakness in tech stocks, with oil, tobacco and drug stocks bouncing.




was up 1.6% to $85.86. The stock's been beaten down in the past couple days, so the recovery was a nice breather for the stock. The

American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

was 2.1% higher.


American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

was rising 0.5% and the

American Stock Exchange Tobacco Index

was lifting 1.4%.

There was one pocket of tech that wasn't being completely killed today. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

ended only 0.7% lower, despiote some positive help from



. The stock was getting a nice boost from news that Japanese company


will more than triple its output of Rambus DRAM chips, which use technology from Rambus that speeds up memory chip performance. The faster chips are twice the price of commodity DRAMs and are used by



to make 3-D graphics for its PlayStation 2 and by



for its new Pentium 4 microprocessor. Rambus was up 7.2%.

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Treasury prices are up as weakness in equities has brought investors' focus back to notes and bonds. The money market is also consolidating after absorbing $32 billion in government debt that was auctioned over the last three days. The long end of the market is showing greater strength, with the 30-year up by half a point.

A $5 billion auction of three-year notes from

Freddie Mac

should keep the trading volume up today. Next week, $21 billion worth of three- and six-month Treasury bills will be sold.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note lately was up 15/32 to 99 25/32, lowering its yield to 5.028%.

Analysts will once again be hoping for

Federal Reserve chairman

Alan Greenspan to hint of more rate cuts as he addresses the

Senate Banking Committee

on Tuesday. In the wake of the Fed's two January cuts, the

Bank of England

cut interest rates yesterday and the Japanese central bank followed through with a cut overnight.

Treasury Secretary

Paul O'Neill

said in his round of conversations with television networks yesterday that he agrees with Greenspan's recent view that the economy is near zero growth. O'Neill estimates the present growth rate at 0.5% - 0 .6%. But he expressed confidence that technology-led productivity gains would take the nation to a "golden era of economic prosperity" as 80% of their contribution was still to be realized. His statements suggest that last quarter's higher-than-expected productivity gains amid a weakening economy were due to structural improvements in supply-chain management techniques.

There is no economic news today.

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