Investors Spooked By Warnings, Warnings, More Warnings

The growing possibility of another terror attack and a double-dip tech recession had buyers in reverse Thursday.
Wall Street probably never had a chance Thursday. With the markets weighed down by an onslaught of earnings warnings, a terror warning from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, a dramatic reaction to Yahoo coming up short of revenue projections, and unimpressive results from a number of retailers, it was hardly a surprise that all of the indexes finished the day in the red.

Ridge's press conference about potential terrorism took the wind out of a midday rally, but tech issues had been taking a beating anyway, thanks in part to warnings from the likes of PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and Veritas.

The reaction to Yahoo's earnings, which were highlighted by record profit and revenue that more than doubled from the year-ago period, was less logical. Traders were reacting to inflated expectations for the company, which had handily beat estimates in the previous quarter. After falling more than 12% in overnight trading, Yahoo's stock recovered slightly during the day, but still closed down $2.52, or 7.7%, at $30.08.

Other tech stocks registered similarly disquieting results. Siebel's warning that it would come up more than $50 million short of revenue projections sent its shares down $1.23, or 13.4%, to $7.98, while another second-tier software vendor, BEA Systems, fell 43 cents, or 5.5%, to $7.32.

EBay couldn't avoid the carnage, either, falling $3.22, or 3.7%, to $83.65. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock followed suit, falling 40 cents, or 1.1%, to $35.70, on moderate volume of 107.4 million shares. Mysteriously, Veritas managed to recover from Tuesday's warning, rising 84 cents, or 5%, to close at $17.80.

Overall, tech sectors were the biggest drag on the markets among Standard & Poor's industry groups, with ISPs down 8%, software down 4%, and storage down 3%.

Our InformationWeek 100 had the roughest go among the indexes, falling 6.26 points, or 2%, to 295.26, while the Nasdaq composite fell 30.76 points, or 1.6%, to 1,935.32. The Dow fell 68.73 points, or 0.7%, to 10,171.56, and the S&P 500 fell 9.22 points, or 0.8%, to 1,109.11.

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

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing