Wall Street - Technology shares slightly lower midday on profit-taking

Shares in technology companies were slightly lower in midsession trade on profit-taking following three days of solid gains, dealers said.

Shares in technology companies were slightly lower in midsession trade on profit-taking following three days of solid gains, dealers said.

At 12.12 pm in New York, the Nasdaq composite was 8.44 points lower or 0.64% at 1,308.08. The index opened at 1,301.83 and had traded in a narrow range of 1,290.77-1,315.51.

The Nasdaq 100 slipped 9.97 points or 0.1.05% to 937.27 and the Philadelphia semiconductor (Sox) index was 6.39 points or 1.99% lower to 314.68.

On other Wall Street indices, the DJIA was 0.18 points or 0.21% lower at 8,693.88 and the S&P 500 dropped 0.55 points or 0.06% to 904.93.

"It is a choppy, mixed market today," said Global Partner Securities analyst Peter Cardillo.

"There is a little bit of selloff, however, this is normal after three days of solid gains," Cardillo said.

"Going into the weekend, technology is giving back gains, but after the strength it has shown this is week this is a healthy sign," he said.

"The economic news that was out today was not all that bad either," Cardillo added. "The productivity numbers were better than what Wall Street had been expecting."

Dell outperformed most of its competitors after Merrill Lynch raised second and third-quarter sales estimates for the company on expectations it will benefit from strong US government spending and some improvement in consumer corporate and Europe in the current quarter.

Dell was up $0.05 at 25.64, IBM was $0.55 higher at 72.16, HP was $0.40 or 2.95% lower at 13.15, Gateway was down $0.16 or 3.94% at 3.90, and Apple had fallen $0.36 or 2.35% to 14.96.

Motorola was $0.37 lower at 48.56. Reports that the SEC is investigating the company's role in the alleged overstatement of earnings at bankrupt cable operator Adelphia had driven Motorola's share price down in early trade.

At issue is whether Motorola knew of an alleged scheme by Adelphia to inflate its earnings when the telecoms equipment company agreed to revise supply contracts with the cable operator.

Separately, the company was given a 'buy' rating with a 12-18 month price target of $16.0, in initial coverage by Needham & Co.

Motorola's PCS division is gaining market share, showing improving profitability and appears well positioned for the back half of 2002, the brokerage said.

EMC was $0.15 or 2.09% lower at 7.03 despite being upgraded to 'buy' from 'neutral' with a $8.20 price target, by First Albany.

The upgrade is based on expected strength from new products in its mid-range storage line, and margin expansion driven by the company's new software initiative - AutoIS.

Chip companies were in the red. Intel dropped $0.34 or 1.85% to 18.03. AMD was down $0.15 or 1.68% at 8.79. Micron was down $0.59 or 3.07% at 18.61. Texas Instruments was $0.18 lower or 0.88% at 20.31.

Software giant Microsoft was down $0.37 at 48.56.

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