Midday Report: Nasdaq Sinks as Sun, Motorola Warn

The carnage in technology stocks continued on Friday, with Sun Microsystems(Nasdaq: SUNW) and Motorola (NYSE: MOT) issuing the profit warnings of the day.

At midday, the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 72.86 at 2,172.10, led by Sun,which was slipped to US$20.38, down 43 cents.

Other averages were also lower, as the bearish sentiment spread to themarket as a whole. The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was down 27.09 at1,225.73, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 174.06 lower at 10,352.75.

Motorola sent a chill through the markets when it issued a warning that “significant weaknessin first-quarter order input across its business segments” will causefirst-quarter sales and earnings to fall short of previous projections, andcould even result in an operating loss.

Feeling the Pinch

The Schaumburg, Illinois-based maker of cell phones and computer componentssaid that “the sharp economic slowdown occurring in the United States andinventory corrections taking place broadly in technology markets worldwidehave caused the adverse change in its order pattern.”

Motorola was down 69 cents at $16.60.

Sun sounded a similar note, with officials reportedly telling investors thata slowing economy and related decline in capital spending will hold resultsback in the current quarter.

Reports said that Sun now expects to earn 7to 9 cents a share in the quarter ending in March, rather than the 16 centspreviously expected.

E-Commerce Drop

The E-Commerce TimesIndex was down 7.22 percent at midday. eToys, down 3 cents to 9 cents, perhaps symbolized the decline in more ways than one.

Outpost.com (Nasdaq: COOL) was down 47 cents at $1.03, even after thecomputer e-tailer said its bottom line improved once the company decided to stop free shipping and start charging its customers for deliveries.

Stamps.com (Nasdaq: STMP) was down 6 cents at $3.16 after the onlinepostage company reported a fourth-quarter loss and announced newcost-cutting moves, including a price increase.

VerticalNet Falls

VerticalNet fell 56 cents to $2.97 after reporting a wider loss for thefourth quarter ended December 31st, and predicting a loss for the currentquarter as well.

The company, which provides business-to-business (B2B)software and services, said it expects a cash profit in the fourth quarterof this year, though it predicts a loss for the year as a whole.

E-commerce software maker BEA Systems (Nasdaq: BEAS) was also caught in theselloff, falling $2.13 to $39.81 despite beating analyst estimates in thefourth quarter ended January 31st and issuing an upbeat outlook for the yearahead.

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