There are weeks when Wall Street looks for an excuse to buy. And then there are weeks when it can't wait to sell. Tech stocks suffered a drubbing this week despite some very strong numbers from stalwarts Apple ( AAPL) and IBM ( IBM), and the price of oil went skidding to the $50-a-barrel range. Even the normally sunny Jane Snorek of U.S. Bancorp Asset Management had to look hard for reassuring news. "Stocks have gone up for six months," she said. "Now we're getting some lackluster quarters. That's not a good combination." Not a good combination is right. On Thursday, the Nasdaq lost 1.5%, its fourth-worst performance in the last six months. Since last Friday, the tech-heavy index has shed 2.1%. Apple, for example,
beat first-quarter earnings expectations by 36 cents a share, grew sales by nearly 25% and sold an astonishing number of iPods. Sure, guidance for the second quarter wasn't great, but everyone who follows the stock knows that Apple typically low-balls its projections. The reward? Shares have slipped more than 8% since Tuesday's close of $97.10. IBM's case wasn't quite as clear cut, but in a tech bull market, a company that grew software sales by 14%, services by 6% and bookings by 50% would get some love. Not this week . "No amount of good news seemed enough to offset the bearish mood about tech stocks set off by Intel's ( INTC) disappointing earnings report two days ago. Just as a rising tide lifts most boats on Wall Street, so does the ebb tide drop them," said Annex Research analyst Bob Djurdjevic.