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For a large part of the past several months, storage stocks were playing Superman to the rest of tech's Jimmy Olson.

Storage companies, which help companies store ever-increasing amounts of data, were seen as one of the last slowdown-resistant pockets of tech. High on the must-have list of most IT budgets, they've held their value comparatively well.

That is until last Monday, when the kryptonite came out in the form of some comments attributed to fiber-channel product maker



, saying the company was seeing a weakness in the market for components that connect elements of the storage network.

Since Feb. 12, Emulex has dropped a staggering 58.8%. It had fallen only 2.6% between the beginning of January and the start of last week. Emulex closed lower today, down $6, or 15.8%, to $32.06.

The fallout hit other storage players as well and took them down all week. More than that, it may have damaged the reputation of storage stocks as a bulwark against the macroeconomic woes that have struck the rest of tech.

"Emulex popped the bubble of confidence about storage stocks," said Mark Kelleher of

FAC Equities

. "It changed the sentiment of the market toward storage stocks. Now it's treating these stocks like any other tech stocks. And most of these companies are showing 60% and 70% growth." His firm has done no underwriting for the companies mentioned.

Storage-switch maker



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also fell sharply in the last week, dropping 39% in value since last Monday. Brocade will report its earnings tomorrow.

Brocade, which had dropped 19% between the beginning of January and the beginning of last week, also fell today, closing off $8.38, or 15.7%, to $44.88.


analyst Frank Gristina wrote in a research note today that he thinks the company will meet expectations. A strong showing, Gristina wrote, may even spark a rally among storage stocks.

Emulex supplier


(FNSR) - Get Finisar Corporation Report

, a player in both storage and optics, also fell in the past week, dropping 39.6% since the beginning of last week, including a loss today of $1.94, or 9.7%, to 18.06, despite an after-hours earnings report that met expectations.

Storage-device makers




Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get NetApp Inc. Report

also fell today. EMC, which has stated it hasn't seen a storage slowdown, closed lower today, off $4.78, or 8.8%, to $49.27. Network Appliance also finished the day down, closing lower by $6.75, or 16.7%, to $33.63.