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Damage Extends Beyond Tech

Market Meltdown

April 15, 2000|From Times Wire Services

Friday's broad sell-off decimated several sectors, including computer software and semiconductors, brokerage companies, banks and transportation.

"Crazy, just crazy," said one trader, smoking outside the New York Stock Exchange.

The tech-oriented Nasdaq composite sank 9.7%, the Dow Jones industrials tanked 5.7%, the blue-chip Standard & Poor's 500 sagged 5.8%, and the Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies lost 7.2%

But the wreckage was not confined to the U.S.

Latin American stocks plunged, sending Mexico's bolsa to its worst weekly rout in at least a decade on concern higher U.S. interest rates could sap investment in the region. Leading indexes fell 7.9% in Mexico, 6% in Argentina and 4.5% in Brazil.

Indexes fell less sharply in Europe and Asia.

In the U.S. Treasury market, bonds rallied as some investors sought safety in government securities. The benchmark 30-year yield eased to 5.78% from 5.79% the day before.

Among the equity highlights:

* The tech sell-off claimed Qualcomm, down $21.31 to $105.19; Intel, down $10.63 to $110.50; Microsoft, down $5.13 to $74.13; Cisco Systems, down $4.13 to $57; JDS Uniphase, down $12.69 to $79.63; and Nextel Communications, down $8.69 to $104.88.

Costa Mesa-based Emulex plunged $41.25 to $41.69 after an analyst at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray said the data-storage equipment maker faces a hard time shifting to new products, even as the company reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

EToys, which once fetched $86, fell $1.25 to $4.75.

Some technology stocks bucked the trend, however.

Foundry Networks added 19 cents to $78.25 after reporting quarterly profit of 17 cents a share, almost double the average analyst estimate.

* There were a few bright spots outside of tech as well. Auto parts supplier A.O. Smith rose $1.56 to $20.69 on a robust earnings report.

* A gold rally sent Placer Dome up $1 to $8.75 and Newmont Mining up $1 to $22.31.

* Financial stocks tumbled amid expectations of interest rate hikes. Lehman Bros. dived $17.38 to $75.50, Charles Schwab skidded $8.75 to $39.50, American Express lost $12.56 to $133.44, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter fell $8.63 to $66.88, E-Trade Group eased $2.94 to $19.19, J.P. Morgan slumped $9.50 to $122 and General Electric, owner of the largest non-bank finance company, lost $4.75 to $145.75.

* Safeco fell $2.63 to $23 after the insurer said operating income will be below estimates because its property and casualty operations performed poorly and claims rose following storms in Texas. The stock has gained 37% in the last month.

* In the retail group, Lands' End dropped $7 to $50.63 on a downgrade to "hold" from "buy" at Credit Suisse First Boston Inc. Gap slid $4.44 to $37.25 as the clothing seller was downgraded to "buy" from "strong buy" at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

Circuit City Group fell $6.25 to $51.75, Best Buy slipped $14.56 to $70.13 and Tiffany sank $9.44 to $63.56.

Market Roundup, C4

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