Like a slow-motion train wreck, the
massacre continued until the close today, as one big-name tech stock after another dropped and every index went red.
Microsoft started it last night by announcing that revenue and earnings would be 5% to 6% below its earlier estimates. Microsoft closed down today $6.31, or 11.4%, to $49.19.
The two main factors, weakening consumer demand and a slowing overall economy, cast a shadow over all the tech indices. It was the fourth-straight negative close for the Comp, which closed at 3015.1 on Monday and at 2653.33 today.
, each of which beat Street estimates for earnings. Adobe finished the day up 8.9% and Oracle was up 3.9%.
The day saw a wholesale reduction of some of tech's biggest names. After a
downgrade based on a slowing economy, server maker
closed down $1.25 , or 3.9%, to $30.44 -- a 52-week low -- and storage giant
finished down $6.50, or 8.7%, to $68.13.
dropped as well, after the
announcement that one of its top executives was leaving, and news stories that it had set aside extra money to pay for deadbeat accounts. Cisco closed down $2.78, or 5.5%, to $48.16.
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
was down 2.3% -- 9.3% lower than it closed one week. It would have been lower, but for a late-day rally, as some investors bought into some of the most highly valued chip companies, apparently looking for a semiconductor safe harbor.
"It's people trying the highest-quality place to hide," said Terry Ragsdale, analyst with
J.P. Morgan Securities
. "There is no place to hide. It's not how semiconductors work."
finished up $5.88, or 5%, to $123.13. Fellow communications chipmaker
Advanced Micro Circuits
closed up 2.3% and
finished up 1.4%.
Bottom-fishers are doing so in dangerous waters, said semicondutor analyst Tim Mahon of
CS First Boston
. "We still think there's bad news to come," said Mahon, who, like Ragsdale, advocates staying away from the sector for a while. "There's going to be a resetting of the bar."
That's what happened for digital-video chipmaker
. After announcing revised numbers for 2001 Thursday afternoon, C-Cube dropped 32.4% for the day. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
, battered for the past two weeks after a series of warnings from
, closed down 3% today. Compaq dropped $1.35, or 7.2%, to close at a 52-week low of $17.35.
3:07 p.m. ET: Few Are Spared Tech's Wreck
A slowing economy and weakening PC demand has knocked the wheels off the Wintel wagon and nearly everything connected with hardware.
The parts of tech that weren't a wreck? There were a few, but not many.
After its first warning in 11 years yesterday,
is down, buried under a slew of revised earnings expectations and at least one downgrade, to long-term attractive from buy, by
. Analyst Alex Baluta wrote that the "single biggest factor affecting Microsoft performance is the overall macroeconomic environment."
In recent trading Microsoft was down $6.44, or 11.6%, to $49.06.
The same dreary climate brought downgrades to two other leading tech leaders,
. Analyst Andrew Neff figured that the weak economy will cause corporations to tighten IT budgets and cut into the server-storage business of both companies. Neff reduced his rating on both to attractive from buy.
In recent trading Sun was down 10%. EMC was trading down 10.5% and the specter of falling IT budgets took down fellow storage-server player
10% in recent trading.
Microsoft's main PC partner,
, fell in sympathy, sliding for the fifth time this week. Many of the other chip and hardware stocks connected with the consumer PC are also slipping. Intel was trading down $2.38, or 6.7%, to $32.75. Smaller partner
, which makes software that manages Microsoft server applications, also took a sympathy dive, plunging 20% on Microsoft's woes.
Lowered expectations worked their way throughout the PC food chain.
Gerard Mattison Klauer
reduced earnings estimates on semiconductor equipment maker
, and Robertson Stephens lowered projections for others in the industry, reasoning that semiconductor makers would be reducing their capital expenditures next year. GKM analyst John Geraghty estimated that 2001 capital expenditures would grow only 5% -- half a previous estimate.
analyst David Wu suggested that next year Intel may trim 10% to 20% from its fiscal year 2000 capital expenditure budget.
And electronic manufacturers, who make the circuit boards that form the guts of PCs, sank in sympathy. Contract manufacturer
was trading down 3.1% despite a positive note from
in anticipation of the company's Monday earnings announcement. (Cowen said it expected "another healthy quarter" from Solectron and "solid" first-quarter results.) Competitor
was down even further, trading off 8%.
, which announced earnings yesterday ahead of expectations, was one of the few stocks sidestepping the tech train wreck, trading up $1.11, or 6.1%, to $29.19. Oracle's win was good for companion software maker
, which was trading ahead 2.8%.
So were a few other stocks less reliant on the PC than on software or the corporate data network.
Enterprise software maker
was staying ahead of the red, up about 6% in recent trading. And
, which announced earnings that beat estimates yesterday, also stayed ahead, trading up 4.6%.
The good news yesterday from the
Federal Trade Commission
today, however. AOL was trading down $2.85, or 5.7%, to $47.15 as the slowing consumer demand for PCs ruined its party.
"They trade side by side," said Scott Kaplan of
. "If there aren't that many PCs being sold, then how many subscriptions are going to go to AOL?"