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"The body, Rocky, the body!" was the plea of

Burgess Meredith's

character in


(and there


have been a rematch, or a remake -- much less four). Today, sellers continued to pound the head of the

Apollo Creed

bull market, whacking away at the tech leadership with abandon.

Blue-chips stood up well under the assault, but even a solid rebound in bonds failed to prevent the tech malaise from dragging stock proxies lower. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond rose 31/32 to 95 5/32, its yield falling to 5.59%.




Micron Technology

(MU) - Get Free Report

were main catalysts of the tech fire sale.

Compaq shed 13.7% after its earning estimates were cut by both

Merrill Lynch

analyst Steve Milunovich (who did the same to


(DELL) - Get Free Report

yesterday ) and

Credit Suisse First Boston

. Adding insult,

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette



each lowered recommendations on the PC giant. Micron fell 13.8% after

Goldman Sachs

downgraded the chipmaker to market outperform, removing it from its recommended list

A host of technology bellwethers, particularly chip and equipment makers, tumbled in the wake of the downgrades. The granddaddy of tech proxies, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

closed down 38.79, or 1.7%, to 2288.03 after trading as low as 2277.18 intraday.

Chip and chip-equipment bellwethers were most heavily damaged:


(INTC) - Get Free Report

fell 6.1%,

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Free Report

lost 7.3%,

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Free Report

, shed 12.7%, and

Novellus Systems


, fell 9.2%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

lost 8.4%.

PC and related names tumbled in sympathy with Compaq:



fell 9.3%,

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Free Report

was off 5.1%, and


(MSFT) - Get Free Report

and Dell each fell at least 2%. The

Nasdaq 100

dipped 2.5%, and the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

fell 2.8%.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 59.76, or 0.6%, to 9306.58, with tech components

(IBM) - Get Free Report




accounting for about two-thirds of the decline. The Dow managed to rise from its intraday worst of 9252.52 behind strength in cyclicals such as

Union Carbide




S&P 500

fell 6.69, or 0.5%, to 1238.33, up from its nadir of 1226.25. Strength in select financials such as


(C) - Get Free Report

, drug makers such as



and transports such as

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Free Report

prevented wider losses. The

Russell 2000

fell 0.43, or 0.1%, to 392.26.

'I think it's only a nasty correction,' said Ladenburg Thalmann's Tony Dwyer. 'We're correcting some of the excesses, which is what I called for. At some point over the next few weeks we're going to have a helluva buying opportunity.'

Internet favorites fared better than traditional tech names, led by

(AMZN) - Get Free Report



(EBAY) - Get Free Report

. Internet Sector

rose 2.67, or 0.5%, to 510.55 and E-Commerce Index

gained 1.05, or 1.1%, to 97.11.

"With all the lousy news that's come out this week --


comments, the bonds under pressure other than today, and what's gone on in the tech area, I think the market really gave a pretty good account of itself," said Ned Collins, executive vice president of U.S. stocks at

Daiwa Securities America

. "Obviously there was some pain, but all in all I though it acted pretty well and wouldn't be surprised to see it act better next week."

Despite a heavy economic calendar next week, Collins is not overly concerned about the bond market reverting to a downward trend, which was "an overreaction to news that might not be as bad as it first appeared," he said. "The first quarter is always a time when you have supply in the bond market. In the rest of the year we'll be floating fewer bonds and it gets down to supply and demand. I wouldn't be surprised to see a rally in bonds and it could help stocks."

Traders may have been cheered by the market's resiliency, but Don Hays, director of investment strategy at

Wheat First Union

in Richmond, Va., likely was not. In a research report this morning, Hays said he was paying "a lot of attention to technology stocks," including IBM, Micron and Intel.

"Since this sector has been the leadership of this

Federal Reserve

-induced bull market since October of last year, we believe the next move will be very telling on the staying power of the bull," he wrote.

Regarding Intel, the strategist said: "An intraday decline below 122 1/2 would be a definite breakdown, and we believe an ominous sign for the technology group as a whole."

Intel closed at 119 15/16 after trading as low as 118 7/8; Hays could not be reached for additional comment.


New York Stock Exchange

trading, 784.6 million shares traded while declining stocks edged advancers 1,496 to 1,440. In

Nasdaq Stock Market

activity, 904.9 million shares were exchanged while losers led 2,129 to 1,899. New 52-week lows led new highs 99 to 19 on the Big Board and by 80 to 31 over-the-counter trading.

Prescience or Piling On?

If the heavy selling in tech caught market players by surprise, Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at

Ladenburg Thalmann

, was not among them.

Dwyer, you'll recall, predicted a downturn in big-cap tech stocks back on Feb. 1, as first

reported by

. In a research report last night, he warned clients to expect an additional 10% decline in the Nasdaq Comp.

"We have not changed our opinion that there should be a further correction in the equity markets, concentrated in Nasdaq high-technology stocks," Dwyer wrote. "Our thesis remains that the markets have already priced in many current and anticipated positive fundamental factors. As a matter of fact, we believe that many high-tech stocks have actually priced in positives that won't transpire for years."

The selling today "is confirming what my view was, which is, high-beta, high-tech stocks are getting hammered," he said in a follow-up interview today. "It's interesting that the Dow is not getting hit that hard, which is because the Nasdaq stocks were the ones most extended."

Dwyer eyes 2100 as a short-term downside target for the Nasdaq, but does not view the selling as fundamentally driven, believing fear of higher interest rates is "misplaced" as inflation remains dormant.

"I think it's only a nasty correction," he said. "We're correcting some of the excesses, which is what I called for. At some point over the next few weeks we're going to have a helluva buying opportunity."

Among other indices, the

Dow Jones Transportation Average

fell 12.72, or 0.4%, to 3207.43; the

Dow Jones Utility Average

slid 0.24, or 0.1%, to 293.87; and the

American Stock Exchange Composite Index

gained 4.82, or 0.7%, to 698.29.

For the week, the Dow industrials fell 33.37, or 0.4% while sliding 0.6% for the month of February. The S&P 500 shed 0.86 or 0.1% for the week but fell 3.3% for the month. The Nasdaq Comp rose 4.58, or 0.2%, for the week but shed 8.7% for the month. The Russell 2000 fell fractionally for the week and 8.2% for the month.

Elsewhere, Internet index rose 39.35, or 7.7%, for the week but fell 9.2% in February and E-Commerce Index gained 2.51, or 2.6%, for the week but fell 19.8% in the month. The Dow transports rose 72.92, or 2.3%, for the week but just 0.1% for the month; the Dow utilities shed 1.51, or 0.5%, for the week and 3% in February; and the Amex Composite rose 5.72, or 0.8%, for the week but fell 2.4% for the month.

Elsewhere in North American equities today, the

Toronto Stock Exchange 300

edged up 5.99 to 6312.69 and the

Mexican Stock Exchange IPC Index

lost 32.06, or 0.8%, to 4260.80. For the week, the TSE 300 fell 96.85, or 1.5%, and the IPC rose 60.68, or 1.4%. For the month, the TSE dropped 6.2% and the IPC jumped 7.7%.

Friday's Company Report

By Heather Moore
Staff Reporter


Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.


As noted above, Compaq tumbled 5 5/8, or 13.7%, to 35 3/8, off its session low of 34 1/2, after Merrill Lynch's Steve Milunovich lowered his first-quarter earnings view for the PC maker to 30 cents from 35 cents a share and Credit Suisse First Boston's Michael Kwatinetz slashed his first-quarter figure to 31 cents from 36 cents. PaineWebber dropped its rating on Compaq to neutral from buy and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette lowered it to market perform from buy. Yesterday, Milunovich said the PC industry's long-term revenue growth rates may be slowed down by price wars and growing customer demand for lower-priced systems. IBM dropped 3 7/8 to 169 3/4, off its session low of 166 1/2; Dell dropped 1 5/8 to 80 1/8, off its session low of 78; and Gateway dropped 7 7/16, or 9.3%, to 72 11/16, near its session low.

Elsewhere in slaughtered tech concerns, Micron Technology plunged 9 3/16, or 13.8%, to 57 5/8, off its intraday low of 54 3/4, after Goldman Sachs removed the stock from its recommended list, downgrading it to market outperform. The firm cited valuation concerns and the potential for pricing weakness in the chip market. Following a piece in the

Los Angeles Times

suggesting that some PC makers will disable the controversial ID in the Intel's new Pentium III chip, the stock dwindled 7 3/4, or 6.1%, to 119 15/16, off its intraday low of 118 7/8. Also, a civil liberties group announced plans to file a complaint with the

Federal Trade Commission

alleging that the release of the Pentium III chip is an unfair and deceptive trade practice.

On the flip side,

(PCOR) - Get Free Report

flew 26, or 123.8%, to 47 1/8 after Goldman priced its 2 million-share IPO top range last night. The lead underwriter had raised the price range to $19 to $21 from $11 to $13 shortly before the pricing. Elsewhere in new issues,



rallied 2 3/4, or 17.2%, to 18 7/8 after Credit Suisse First Boston priced its 4 million-share IPO above range at $16 a share. Intraware provides Internet-based business software services.

America Online


flourished 1 3/4 to 88 15/16 on general Internet strength and word that an agreement with


(T) - Get Free Report

may be in the works. Telephone lost 2 3/8 to 82 1/8. Elsewhere in Net news, eBay vaulted 34 9/16, or 11.5%, to an all-time high of 334 ahead of Monday's 3-for-1 stock split.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures




slid 9/16 to 47 after the

Financial Times

reported that the management of

Kuwait Petroleum

, Hoechst's largest shareholder, is said to be divided over whether to support a proposed merger between the company and France's


(RP) - Get Free Report

. Kuwait Petroleum's 24.5% stake in Hoechst puts it in a position to thwart the plan when Hoechst shareholders vote on the merger May 4, the newspaper said. Rhone-Poulenc lowered 1 9/16 to 46.


(NAV) - Get Free Report

picked up 3 9/16, or 9%, to 43 on continued speculation that it will be acquired by Sweden's



. Volvo skidded 3/4 to 25 1/2.

SierraWest Bancorp


hopped 2 1/8, or 7.5%, to 30 1/2 after



agreed to acquire the company last night for $194 million in stock. BancWest gave up 3 13/16, or 8.9%, to 39 3/16.



soared 4 3/4, or 44.2%, to 15 1/2 after

Philips Electronics

(PHG) - Get Free Report

made an unsolicited $777 million bid for the chip concern. Philips lost 1/2 to 69 5/8.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews



jumped 1 3/8 to 30 13/16 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 14 cents a share, a penny ahead of the six-analyst forecast and above the year-ago loss of 1 cent.

Fore Systems


sliced off 2 3/4, or 15.9%, to 14 1/2 after warning that, entering the final month of its fiscal fourth quarter, it still needs to earn more than 50% of the revenue needed to meet earnings expectations of 12 cents a share.

Hanover Compressor


climbed 2 5/16, or 11.8%, to 21 7/8 after last night posting fourth-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share, in line with estimates.



sank 1 7/16, or 6.9%, to 19 3/8 despite last night reporting first-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share, in line with the seven-analyst forecast and above the year-ago 4 cents.

Superior Consultant


rose 2 1/4, or 7.3%, to 33 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share, above the nine-analyst outlook for 25 cents and the year-ago 20 cents.

VWR Scientific


advanced 1 3/8, or 6.3%, to 23 3/16 after last night topping fourth-quarter earnings estimates by 1 cent a share with a profit of 22 cents.

Offerings and stock actions

Forward Air

(FWRD) - Get Free Report

lifted 15/16 to 29 7/8 after last night setting a 2-for-1 stock split.



tanked 2 3/16, or 7.3%, to 27 7/8 despite last night saying it filed with regulators for a 1.72 million-share offering.

Analyst actions


(BUD) - Get Free Report

popped up 1 1/4 to an all-time high of 76 11/16 after

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

raised its price target to 90 from 80 a share.


(FLR) - Get Free Report

scored 1 7/16 to 35 3/16 after

Salomon Smith Barney

raised it to buy from neutral.

Piper Jaffray

initiated coverage of several credit card issuers:

Capital One Financial

(COF) - Get Free Report

rose 3 3/4 to 127 5/8 after being rated a strong buy; and

American Express

(AXP) - Get Free Report

rose 5/8 to 108 1/2,



added 5/8 to 24 1/4 and

Providian Financial


added 3 5/8 to 102 1/8 after the firm started the companies with a buy.


Cyberian Outpost


expanded 3/8 to 17 1/16,

Digital River

(DRIV) - Get Free Report

expanded 1 1/2 to 38 1/2 and



lost 3/4 to 72 3/8 after the

American Stock Exchange

said the stocks will be added to E-Commerce Index following the close of trading March 4. They replace

Hollywood Entertainment


, which fell 11/16 to 27 7/16,

Micro Warehouse


, which fell 1 1/2 to 19 3/4, and

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Free Report

, which hopped up 7/8 to 29 5/8.



sloughed off 2 7/8 to 85 1/4 on worries the

Food and Drug Administration

won't approve the company's wearable blood sugar monitor for diabetics.



shot up 2 15/16, or 24%, to 15 3/8 after the

oft-off-the-mark Inside Wall Street column in

Business Week

said there's speculation that



may expand its current 32% stake in NetSpeak or make an offer for the whole company. Motorola dropped 1 3/8 to 70 1/4.



tacked on 1 9/16 to 55 11/16 after saying it received the go-ahead from a European committee for approval of its


drug to treat hepatitis C. The committee also recommended approval for the company's


for the prevention of myocardial infraction in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Virgin Express Holdings


swelled 5/8, or 5.8%, to 11 5/8 after saying it will vote April 13 on a $15 million repurchase plan.


(ZEN) - Get Free Report

gave up 1 to 41 1/16 after filing suit against

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Free Report

, alleging that Lilly unlawfully promoted its osteoporosis drug


for use in preventing breast cancer. Lilly advanced 1 1/4 to 94 1/2.