SAN FRANCISCO -- Rotation, rotation, rotation. The rotation out of tech stocks and into just about anything else continues as traders search for value.
Why? Well, the sector, particularly Net stocks, has had a huge run-up; tech stocks typically experience problems during earnings season; and people have made too much money not to book some profits.
Not helping matters are a couple of articles critical of Net stocks.
The New Yorker
features a profile of
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
analyst Mary Meeker that quotes the influential Internet analyst as saying she expects a "big correction in Internet stocks sometime this year," and that the correction would "be very healthy." Meeker also takes issue with stock values, saying as they get "higher and higher, it gets more and more dangerous."
Net stock values were the topic of an op-ed piece in today's editions of
The Wall Street Journal
. The author, Jeremy J. Siegel, a professor of finance at the
, singles out
as being particularly overvalued. Siegel notes that AOL's current market value "is about $15,000 per subscriber, or more than 50 times the annual subscription fee." He also says that merchandising margins among Internet companies are "razor thin," and consumer loyalties will be to those with the lowest prices.
AOL was down 13 3/4, or 10%, at 126, with losses contributing to weakness in the entire Internet sector.
Online brokerages continue to fall hard after seeing incredible gains in the past month. Shares of
tripled in the first two weeks of April, reaching an April 14 high of 188 1/4 just ahead of its earnings. And despite an earnings report that far exceeded analysts' expectations, profit takers have hit the stock, taking it into the low 100s today. The stock was off 24 3/4, or 20% at 101 7/16. But note that it is still more than 40 points above where it began the month.
Other online brokerage stocks are meeting the same fate.
, which reports earnings on Tuesday, was down 13 9/16, or 15%, at 79. And
, which has a major online presence and also reported strong earnings last week, was down 12 5/16, or 11%, at 102 1/2.
Other stocks that have had tremendous run-ups were seeing the downside as well.
was among the leading point losers on the Nasdaq, down 23 5/8, or 9%, at 237 1/4. Also on the downside is
, which soared as investors discovered the online banking company. It was down 22 1/8, or 13%, at 152 9/16. Note that the stock has now lost close to 100 points since trading to 249 on April 14 after the company set a 3-for-1 stock split.
was off 20 3/4, or 15%, at 117 5/16.
were down 8 3/4, or 10%, at 81. On Wednesday, ICANN, the nonprofit corporation created by the government to oversee competition in the domain name business, is expected to choose five companies to compete with Network Solutions to register Internet domain names on a trial basis. Network Solutions said today that it had reached an agreement with a number of companies to build and distribute an Internet directory.