TECH STOCKS: Mideast Muddles Markets

Worries about terrorism following the killing of the founder of Hamas sent the markets to yet another loss.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 22, 2004

2 Min Read

Worries about terrorism pushed Wall Street down again Monday, with the Dow industrials sustaining their fifth triple-digit drop in the past nine sessions. The blue chips came close to slipping below 10,000 for the first time since Dec. 12.

Israeli troops killed the founder of Hamas early Monday, and the Palestinian group vowed retaliation against both Israel and the United States. The Mideast turmoil further discouraged investors--who were already on edge about the slow economic recovery and rising oil prices.

The Dow Jones average fell 121.85 points, or 1.2%, to 10,064.75 after dropping to as low as 10,012.23 during the day. The Dow has lost 672.95 points, or 6.3%, since its high of 10,737.70 on Feb. 17.

Broader indicators were also sharply lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 14.38 points, or 1.3%, to 1,095.40, closing below the 1,100 mark for the first time since Dec. 26. The Nasdaq composite index fell 30.56 points, or 1.6%, to 1,909.91. The InformationWeek 100 fell 7 points, or 2.2%, to 307.99. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock fell 44 cents, or 1.3%, to $34.31, as more than 133.8 million shares changed hands.

The declines cut across every sector. Technology shares were particularly hard hit because of the turmoil over the presidential election in Taiwan, where some of the strongest technology manufacturers are based. Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, fell 88 cents, or 8.6%, to $9.30 on the New York Stock Exchange and were among the exchange's most actively traded issues.

Microsoft also fell after European Union officials supported a proposal to fine the software maker for antitrust violations--a penalty expected to range into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Shares ended down 13 cents, or 0.53%, at $24.50.

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