Semiconductor stocks pushed the tech sector slightly lower Wednesday, led by Micron Technology's ( MU) disappointing quarter. The chipmaker was sliding 8.6% after
swinging to a fiscal fourth quarter loss Tuesday after the bell. The company lost $158 million, or 21 cents a share, compared to a $64 million profit, or 8 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Micron reported quarterly revenue of $1.44 billion, vs. $1.37 billion in the 2006 quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a loss of 22 cents a share on sales of $1.46 billion. Micron shares were shedding $1.01 to $10.78. Elsewhere in the chip space, Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of Intel ( INTC), Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD) and Nvidia ( NVDA) with underweight ratings, citing expected weakness in chip prices next year, according to the Associated Press. All three chipmakers were declining more than 1.7%. Intel and Nvidia are components of the Nasdaq 100, which was down 1.24 points to 2114.65. Cree ( CREE) was also among the casualties in the semiconductor space. The LED maker's shares plummeted $3.49, or 10.7%, to $29.24 after Canaccord Adams downgraded the stock to sell from hold, according to Barron's. Ceragon Networks ( CRNT) was slipping 9.6% after Collins Stewart downgraded the Israeli wireless technology provider to underperform from buy. The downgrade came a day after the company said it would offer 6 million shares in a public offering and intended to put up for a shareholder vote whether to increase its number of shares from 40 million to 60 million. The stock was falling $2.10 to $19.68. On the positive side, EchoStar ( DISH) shares spiked on heavy trading on no major news, before retreating in the late morning. The company, which operates the Dish Network satellite TV service, has long been rumored to be an acquisition target for AT&T ( T). Shares, which reached as high as $52.15 Wednesday morning, were more recently trading up $2.89, or 6.2%, to $49.66. LM Ericsson ( ERIC) was advancing 1.9%, after the company inked a deal with the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to build its first wireless network, according to the Associated Press. Shares were gaining 77 cents to $40.48.