Nasdaq tumbles below 3,000 mark


Associated Press

NEW YORK – Wall Street’s pessimism intensified today with investors sending stocks sharply lower amid growing concerns about earnings and the slowdown in the U.S. economy.

The high-tech focused Nasdaq composite index bore the brunt of a new string of analysts’ downgrades in the technology sector and tumbled 151.55 to finish at 2,875.64. This was the Nasdaq’s lowest close since Oct. 28, 1999, when it finished at 2,875.22.

Other market indexes also recorded sharp declines. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 167.22 to 10,462.65, and the broader Standard &Poor’s 500 index was off 25.10 at 1,342.62.

Already downtrodden investors saw little reason to buy given the still unresolved presidential election and a spate of analyst downgrades of tech companies. Doubting they’d ever see the market’s usual post-election rally, investors stuck to selling stocks whose earnings forecasts are bleak, particularly high-techs.

“Investors are just totally frustrated here,” said Larry Rice, chief investment officer at Josephthal &Co. “They’re frustrated by the inability of research departments at some of the biggest houses on the Street to adequately project what’s happening with stocks.”

Technology issues lost ground as investors digested more bad news and awaited an earnings report due from Agilent, the company spun off by Hewlett-Packard.

Agilent said after the close of regular trading that it earned 66 cents a share during the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ estimates by 15 cents. It gained $1.50 in after-hours trading, recouping some of the $2.81 it lost in the regular session, in which Agilent closed at $44.56.

Technology losses were widespread. Oracle fell $4.06, closing at $24.75, on news from Friday that executive vice president Gary Bloom is leaving to become CEO of Veritas Software. It was the second time in less than five months that the software maker has announced a key departure.

Internet auctioneer eBay stumbled $8.94, or nearly 21 percent, to close at $34.50 after Lehman Brothers downgraded its stock.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter downgraded and cut its projected prices for network equipment makers, including Juniper Communications and Cisco Systems. Cisco dropped $1.50 to $51.25, and Juniper plunged $32.13, or 21 percent, to $121.88.

Investors traded cautiously during a Florida Supreme Court hearing on the presidential election recount. But they were more uneasy about profit prospects and an economic slowdown than the election’s outcome, analysts said.

“We have a very serious problem with earnings outlooks,” said Edward Yardeni, chief economist at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. “There is a perception that U.S. economic growth is getting depressed by high oil prices and a very strong dollar, which makes our exports more expensive overseas.”

Gainers included Quaker Oats, which rose $5.19 to $95.50 on news reports that the food maker’s board is considering an acquisition by Coca-Cola. Two weeks ago, Quaker, whose most valuable brand is Gatorade, rejected a $14.8 billion offer from PepsiCo.

Drug stocks were mostly higher, possibly because they are considered wise buys during bearish markets or a slower economy. Merck rose $1.63 to $90.13.

But financial companies ended lower, most likely on concerns about loan volume and defaults in a slowing economy. Banker J.P. Morgan slipped $4.06 to $142.06.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller companies, fell 12.37 to 470.24.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange where consolidated volume was 1.14 billion million, below Friday’s 1.26 billion.

Overseas markets also were lower. Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.09 percent. Germany’s DAX index was down 2.1 percent, Britain’s FT-SE 100 lost 1.5 percent, and France’s CAC-40 was off 2.3 percent.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

A south-facing view of the proposed site for a new mental health facility on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, near 300th Street NW and 80th Avenue NW north of Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
County Council OK’s Stanwood behavioral health center

After an unsuccessful appeal to block it, the Tulalip Tribes are now on the cusp of building the 32-bed center in farmland.

Most Read