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TECH STOCKS: Selling Momentum Overshadows Prospect Of Al-Qaida Deputy's Capture

The prospect of a key leader being captured couldn't overcome mixed economic data; tech shares were dragged down by Microsoft's antitrust problems in Europe.
After taking an early beating, stock markets rebounded Thursday on news that a senior al-Qaida official might be close to capture in Pakistan. All of our indexes closed the day down slightly. The morning slide in stock prices was triggered by a spate of bad economic news, including higher-than-expected inflation in January and the possibility that Microsoft might be hit with a big penalty by the European Union.

A delayed Labor Department report said U.S. producer prices increased 0.6% in January, higher than the 0.4% increase economists had been expecting. The increase was led by a 4.7% surge in fuel prices. Other reports said the U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators was unchanged in February, and manufacturing in the Philadelphia region grew at a slower-than-expected pace. All that overshadowed news that the number of new jobless claims filed last week was the lowest since January 2001.

Microsoft's stock fell more than 1% Thursday when the software company and the European Union failed to reach an agreement on antitrust charges. The EU is now likely to impose a hefty penalty against Microsoft. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock closed at $35.27, down 23 cents, or 0.6%, on trading volume of nearly 109 million shares.

Our InformationWeek 100 index fell 1.91 points, or 0.6%, to close at 317.87, while the Nasdaq fell 14.32 points, or 0.7%, to 1,962.44. The Dow industrials fell 4.52 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 10,295.78, while the S&P 500 also fell slightly--1.44 points, or 0.1%--to finish the day at 1,122.31.

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 informationweek.com/stocks.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
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Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing