Nearly every sector -- even most of the traditionally defensive -- was getting knocked down for the count.

Networking giant

Cisco's

(CSCO) - Get Report

announcement on Friday afternoon that it was

cutting its workforce and hinting at an earnings shortfall coupled with news this morning from Swedish telecom-equipment maker

Ericsson

(ERICY)

that it would take a first-quarter

loss was bringing the

Nasdaq Telecommunications Index

to its knees. The index was lately falling 6.3%.

In the past month, one telecom-related company after another has announced layoffs, spending cuts or bad news on the earnings front. The parade of bad-news bearers includes

WorldCom

(WCOM)

,

Motorola

(MOT)

,

Alcatel

(ALA)

,

Nortel

(NT)

and

360Networks

(TSIX)

.

One of the very few sectors on the upside was the defensive of all defensives -- gold. Typically, when investors are bailing on everything, they flee to safety. And they typically like the cool, hard feel of gold. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold & Silver Index

was rising 1.7%.

Insurers were falling after some earlier gains today. The

S&P Insurance Index

was lately edging lower by 0.7%. News that British insurance giant

Prudential

(PUK) - Get Report

was buying

American General

(AGC) - Get Report

in an all-stock deal worth

$26.5 billion sent American General 2.7% higher to $54.07.

But generally, investors can pick a sector -- any sector -- and find losses. The

Morgan Stanley Consumer Index

was off 2%, the

Nasdaq Biotechnology Index

was losing 5.3% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was dropping 3.4%.