NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Internet and high-technology sectors took hard hits Monday in Day Three of the Wall Street demolition derby of 1998. Computer networking and drug stocks also headed lower in a topsy-turvy trading day.
Net issues catch a sell-off wave
After moving slightly higher in pre-market trading, Internet stocks dropped sharply on Monday as investors saw any blip upward as a chance to sell the inflated issues.
America Online (AOL), despite announcing Monday a marketing agreement with PC giant Hewlett Packard (HWP), plunged 6-15/16 to 89-5/16.
High-flying Internet service provider MindSpring Enterprises (MSPG) dropped 3-9/16 to 27-3/16, while EarthLink Network (ELNK) lost 5-5/8 to 29-1/4.
Internet search engines were all sharply lower, with Yahoo! (YHOO) falling 6-9/16 to 76-1/2, Excite (XCIT) off 3-1/16 to 27-1/2, Infoseek (SEEK) down 1-5/8 to 19-9/16 and Lycos (LCOS) dumping 3-1/16 to 26-13/16.
Online bookseller Amazon.com (AMZN) sank 13-7/8 to 92, the search engine maker Inktomi (INKT) lost 7-19/32 to 52-15/32, and web investor CMG Information Services (CMGI) lost 5-7/16 to 44-9/16.
But budding Internet player Zapata (ZAP) gained 7/16 to 12-7/16 after the one-time fish oil company said Monday it had tapped Salomon Smith Barney to evaluate financial and strategic alternatives to boost its share value.
Telecom networkers ring hollow
Telecom networking equipment makers plunged as well. Lucent Technologies (LU) lost 4-7/8 to 76-1/8, Cisco Systems (CSCO) fell 5-5/8 to 89-1/16 and Ascend Communications (ASND) tumbled 2-7/8 to 37-1/8.
Tellabs (TLAB) dropped 2-3/8 to 46-5/8 after Lehman Brothers cut its earnings targets on the telecommunications equipment maker for fiscal 1999 to $2.25 a share from $2.45. Would-be merger partner Ciena (CIEN) lost 3-5/16 to 32.
But the regional Bell companies held their own. (BLS) rose 1-11/16 to 70, Bell Atlantic (BEL) was up 3/4 to 45-15/16, and US West (USW) rose 13/16 to 52-15/16.
SBC Communications (SBC) rose 7/16 to 40-1/16, and its would-be merger partner Ameritech (AIT) was up 5/8 to 48-7/8.
and drug makers swallow
Drug stocks, seemingly better inoculated against market swings than other sectors, took a shot Monday.
Merck (MRK) lost 4-3/8 to 123, Pfizer (PFE) fell 2-3/4 to 98-7/8, Warner-Lambert (WLA) dropped 5-1/2 to 69, Schering-Plough (SGP) lost 3-3/4 to 91-1/4 and American Home Products (AHP) plunged 3-1/16 to 53-1/4.
On the ratings front, Consumer Portfolio Services (CPSS) dropped 1-13/16 to 2-5/8, or more than 40 percent, after Piper Jaffray cut its rating on the consumer finance company to sell from buy and cut its 12-month price target to one dollar.
Biogen (BGEN) dropped 1/4 to 50, even though PaineWebber started its coverage of the drug maker with an attractive rating.
In a vote of confidence for its own stock, Viacom (VIA) rose 15/16 to 54-13/16 after the media firm behind MTV and Blockbuster Video announced it would buy back up to $1.75 billion of one or more classes of its shares.
Brylane (BYL) bounced up 2-13/16 to 27-13/16 after the catalog-based retailer said it would buy up to $40 million of its own stock, depending on market conditions.
Breakin' up is hard on investors
Matrix Capital (MTXC) plunged 5-1/4 to 9-1/4, or 36 percent, after mortgage merchant banking company Fidelity National Financial (FNF) scrapped its plans to buy the real estate services company because the regulatory hurdles were too "burdensome," the companies said.
Northwest Airlines (NWAC) lost 2-1/8 to 28-1/16 as a pilots strike that started over the weekend moved into its first business day with few signs of a quick resolution in sight.