SAN FRANCISCO -- Focus on the end of the quarter and military action in Kosovo left the tech sector in limbo along with the rest of the market. There were a few standouts but no real focus or particular stock to dictate direction in the sector.
Buzz Hussey, managing director with
Dain Rauscher Wessels
, said the three major areas of the tech sector that he is watching are not moving in synch. He said Internet stocks "remain strong with a lot of momentum" and it is going to take a sign that growth is not strong or is slowing to derail the Net stocks.
Boxmakers are acting "very sluggish," Hussey says, and he expects them to continue to erode. He said he would wait on buying either
despite the weakness that has been seen in the stocks of late.
"You can't say they're cheap by any stretch of the imagination," he said. "They're cheaper from where they were trading, but they're still high based on the multiples." In addition, he said, there have been reports of insider trading in the boxmakers, which is a concern. Hussey remains high on the communication and cable stocks.
Winners and Losers
For the second straight session,
was one of the big winners after announcing Thursday that it ended a dispute with
. The companies agreed to support a single-world CDMA standard and Ericsson agreed to buy Qualcomm's terrestrial CDMA wireless infrastructure business. Qualcomm closed up 13 1/8, or 13%, at 111 9/16.
Also, shares of
closed up 2 1/4, or 21%, at 13 1/8 after the online discount retailer announced it was launching a new auction site.
Of the Internet stocks,
closed higher after announcing that it will offer users 3-D search capabilities in the second quarter. Excite closed 6 15/16, or 5%, at 140 1/4.
The first quarter ends next week and there was some news regarding how business is going in certain areas of the tech sector.
dropped sharply after the maker of suspension systems for computer disk drives announced it will lay off 550 workers due to a decline in demand. It closed 2 5/8 lower, or 11%, at 20 7/16.
, a computer products distributor, dropped sharply after announcing it expects to post a loss in the first quarter. Inacom closed 4 lower, or 36%, at 7 3/16.