Wednesday: Technology Plunging; Is Biggs Finally Right? - TheStreet

The techs are falling! The techs are falling!

The big shots of the dead-tree media jumped into the Chicken Little business with both feet today as

The Wall Street Journal

and

The New York Times

ran prominent stories suggesting that the once-invincible technology sector has turned all too vincible. The

Journal

turned to noted

Morgan Stanley

bear

Barton Biggs

, whose view of the techs is grizzlier than ever.

"In real terms, a bear market has begun," Biggs told the

Journal

. "I believe the tech cycle has peaked."

But Biggs has been to that mountaintop before, calling corrections at various points as the market has continued to rally. A

Dec. 16 story in

The Street

pointed out Biggs' Oct. 17 call on

CNBC

, when he said stocks "will go down, not up." As you may have noticed, stocks went up. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

closed at 6268.35 Dec. 16 -- the day Biggs called for a 10% to 30% correction -- and since has gained 10%, closing yesterday at 6896.56.

Still, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and Biggs clearly retains considerable influence on the Street. The tech-laden

Nasdaq Composite Index

plunged more than 23 points by midday, putting it more than 10% away from its Jan. 22 high of 1388.06. The

Nasdaq High Technology Index

plummeted more than 14 points to about 488.

Tech bearishness isn't the only game in town today, with the wider markets still volatile ahead of Tuesday's

Federal Reserve

policy meeting. The Dow and the broader

S&P 500

fared better than the Nasdaq indices, but both measures were heading sharply lower by midday. The February

Consumer Price Index

offered mixed signals, with the total rate up 0.1% more than a consensus estimate of 0.2%. The core rate, though, came in as expected with a 0.2% gain. The mixed report pushed the market's favorite button of late: "When in doubt, sell."

Responding to the

Journal's

story outlining a possible takeover bid for

Sprint

(FON)

by the U.K.'s

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

big upside earnings surprise late yesterday led to an upgrade today by

Piper Jaffray

, which took the software company to buy from neutral. ADBE shares gained 3 5/8 to 38 1/2.

By John J. Edwards III

jedwards@thestreet.com