PC stocks got hit Tuesday in the wake of

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray's

downgrade of

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

.

A lot of technology groups were suffering damage from that call, which pushed the bellwether semiconductor company down 6%. The pressure on computer boxmakers in particular, though, was far from collateral. In downgrading Intel to buy from strong buy, analyst Ashok Kumar cited his expectation of sluggish demand for Intel's products, and investors accordingly sold off some of the leading names in the PC industry, to which Intel makes most of its sales. (Piper has done no underwriting for Intel.)

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Boxmaker Index

was off about 2%. Getting the worst of it were

Gateway

(GTW)

, off 7.1%,

Dell

TST Recommends

(DELL) - Get Report

, down 4.8%, and

Compaq

(CPQ)

, down 3.5%.

"The consensus expectations are for 12% unit growth in September," says Kumar. "In reality, it looks like the growth rate will be half as much. This is weakness that is broad-based across all the geographies except Japan."

Kumar says he is especially cautious about

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

, which has endured some rocky trading since he downgraded it in early August.

"The

third-quarter consensus for Dell is for 18% sequential

unit shipment growth," says Kumar. "They'd have to capture all the incremental growth worldwide for them to grow at five times the market's growth rate." (Piper has no underwriting relationship with Dell.)

Dell officials weren't immediately available to comment.