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Interest-Rate Fears Chill Markets

Concerns that interest rates are going to rise took their toll on Wall Street, especially on technology stocks.

Tech issues took a beating on Wall Street again Thursday as investors continued to exercise caution amid fears of expected interest-rate increases. Economic reports didn't help, either. The Commerce Department said the gross domestic product grew 4.2% in the first quarter, indicating economic growth that was well below expectations. Meanwhile, higher-than-expected rises in the chain price deflator, personal consumption spending index, and employment cost index confirmed concerns that inflation is under way.

Thursday's sell-off left all areas of the technology sector reeling. Among the most active issues, Cisco Systems was down 46 cents, or more than 2%, to $21.91; Applied Materials fell 51 cents, or 2.7%, to $18.43; Dell Computer was down 36 cents, or 1%, to $35.29; Oracle fell 47 cents, or 3.95%, to $11.43; and Yahoo fell $1.12, or 2%, to $54.71. One notable anomaly was change-management software vendor Marimba, which rose $3.20, or 65.7%, to $8.07 on news that it was being acquired by BMC Software, which fell $1.45, or 7.4%, to $18.05. The Nasdaq-100 trading stock was down 57 cents, or 1.6%, to $35.63, on heavy volume of 151.2 million shares.

While all the major indexes had a rough day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq and InformationWeek 100 were hardest hit. The InformationWeek 100 fell 5.89, or 1.8%, to 314.64, while the Nasdaq fell 30.76, or 1.6%, to close at 1,958.78. The Dow Jones Industrials fell 70.33, or 0.7%, to finish at 10,272.27, and the S&P 500 fell 8.53, or 0.8%, to 1,113.89.

See the full listing of all the companies in the InformationWeek 100 and the top 5 percentage winners and losers for the last closing at http://www.informationweek.com/stock.

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