Early Market Movers: Battered and Broken

Investors who have awaited a bottom to this market may now be wondering if there'll be one at all. The Nasdaq, already horribly depressed, plunged nearly 4 percent Thursday morning, dropping 105.41 to 2601.52, as of 11 a.m. EST. The index headed south after hearing bad news in two sectors: PC company Gateway Inc. announced a drop in sales, while chipmaker Altera fell on an earnings warning.

Gateway evidently had a tough Thanksgiving weekend. The nation's No. 2 direct seller of computers said yesterday that sales were down 30 percent from last year's big shopping weekend. Investors dumped the stock in response, sending it plummeting more than 37 percent in the first half-hour of trading, down US$11.05 to $18.45 at 10:02 a.m. Sector-mate Dell joined in, dropping more than 7 percent.

Altera fell more than 11 percent on an earnings warning, and took other semiconductor makers down with it. Intel fell nearly 10 percent, or 4.19, to 38.56, by 11 a.m. EST.

Other tech losers today included EBay Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Commerce One, each of which slid 8 percent.

The Dow, while also in the red, looked stable in comparison to its troubled peer: It had fallen just 1 percent, or 111.48 to 10,517.63, by 11 a.m. EST.

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