Broad Market Weakness Drags Down Net Sector - TheStreet

Broad Market Weakness Drags Down Net Sector

AT&T-Excite@Home talk continues to draw attention, but the sector feels the pressure of a weaker market.
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The

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

-

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

story continued to be a focus in the Internet sector, but weak market conditions were pressuring the rest of the sector early on.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was off 5.52, or 0.9%, at 641.86 after reaching a high of 647.05 early on.

Late Thursday, AT&T said it was considering strategic options relating to its 58% interest in Excite@Home. In response to rumors that

America Online

(AOL)

had been pinned as a possible buyer, AT&T said it has not forged any definitive deals.

In early trading, Excite@Home was up 3 5/8, or 9%, at 45 1/8. AOL was up 3 3/16, or 3%, at 107 1/4, and AT&T was off 5/16, or 1%, at 43 3/16.

Elsewhere, the Net sector was being dragged down by an overall weak market. A downgrade of

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

by

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

to long-term attractive from buy was affecting the tech sector. In addition,

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

cautioned that the company's fourth-quarter growth would be at the low end of the forecasted 10%-to-13% range. Dell was recently trading down 1 9/16, or 4%, at 40 1/4, while H-P was off 3 5/8, or 4%, at 87 1/8.

In addition, the markets were just hit with a strong economic report from the

National Association of Purchasing Management

, which rekindled fears that the

Federal Reserve

would raise interest rates when it meets next week.

Net bellwethers were mostly lower.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

was off 2 21/32, or 1.6%, at 176 27/32.

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

was off 2 11/16, or 3%, at 77 1/4.