Market Movers: Nasdaq Hides Its Head in the Sand

SAN FRANCISCO (04/24/2000) - In a scenario that's becoming nauseatingly familiar, the Nasdaq plunged as much as 8 percent today before recouping some losses in the last hour of trading.

It closed the day down 4.4 percent, or 161.50 points, to 3482.38. Today's tumble came on the heels of a Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) plunge: Microsoft stock dropped 15 percent to $66.69, on reports that the Justice Department might order a breakup of the company. Although the nature of any such split is unclear, the possibility caused uncertainty to spread throughout the technology sector. The Dow remained calm, however, and actually gained by day's end, closing up 62.05, or 0.06 percent, to 10906.10.

The Nasdaq drop compounds weeks of deep losses. The index enjoyed a 9 percent gain last week, thanks to a two-day, 15 percent rally. But that gain was cut in half today as the Nasdaq suffered its third consecutive day of losses.

Large-cap techs were badly hurt in early trading, but many made up ground by the end of the day. Oracle Corp. (ORCL) was up 2 percent to $72.31. Intel Corp.

(INTC) gained a small 0.4 percent to $115.81. And IBM Corp. rose 2 percent to $106.50.

But Cisco ended the day down, dropping 3 percent to $62.94. Lucent Technologies (LU) shed 4 percent to $60.25. Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) was down 1 percent to $86.86.

The Internet sector fared worse. Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc. (EBAY) both lost 6 percent, to $114.50 and $140.88, respectively. CMGI (CMGI) was down 8 percent to $52.83. Internet Capital Group (ICGE) lost 13 percent to $38. And Inc. saw little benefit from its better-than-expected financials.

The stock dropped 9 percent to $61.50.

Qualcomm Inc. was down 8.5 percent to $100.13, but that company's strength seemed intact elsewhere in the market: NetZero Inc. (NZRO) stock rose 38 percent today on news that Qualcomm would make a $144 million investment in the company, for a 10 percent stake. NetZero closed the day at $11.44.

Continuing the market divergence of recent weeks, the Dow held firm today, steadied by gains in General Electric Co., up 1.4 percent to $160.75, and Wal-Mart, up 1.4 percent to $58.50. The financial sector was strong, as well, with American Express Co. (AXP) up 5 percent to $7.25, and J.P. Morgan & Co.

Inc. up $3.13, to $134.

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