Lack of consumer confidence causes stocks' drop

In the US, technology stocks dropped sharply soon after the release of weak consumer confidence figures.

In the US, technology stocks dropped sharply soon after the release of weak consumer confidence figures.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell almost 15 points to 1,720.85, while the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index fell 2 percent and the Amex Networking Index was off 1%.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 76.6 in July from 83.5 in June. It is the lowest level since March.

Economists were expecting the index to rise to 84.7.

Big-name tech stocks were having a mixed time of it, with IBM , Dell , Cisco Systems , Sun Microsystems and Advanced Micro Devices trending downward.

Graphics-chip maker Nvidia had one of the biggest declines, falling US$1.58, or 8 %, to US$18.84 after warning Monday that its second-quarter gross margins would be lower than expected due to higher technology costs.

Among PC companies, in addition to Dell and IBM, Apple Computer lost ground, but Hewlett-Packard rose 17 cents to US$21.55 and Gateway was up 5 cents at US$4.33.

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