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Nasdaq Falls 77, Dow Plunges 123

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks resumed their sharp drop Monday, pulling the Nasdaq composite index below 3,000 for the first time in more than a year, after Hewlett-Packard became the latest high-tech company to announce disappointing earnings news.

The selloff quickly spread across the market, extending a slide triggered last week by investors' frustration over a series of bleak earnings reports and forecasts. Analysts say the uncertainty created by the debate over the winner of the presidential election is intensifying, but not causing, the volatility.

``The bear market that we've been talking about for a while is simply continuing. It's getting nasty and vicious,'' said Gary Kaltbaum, a technical analyst at JWGenesis. ``Too many people are saying that this is because of the election and it's not. This is simply a slowdown in growth, and these are stocks with too-high valuations.''

In afternoon trading, the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index was down 76.70, or 2.5 percent, at 2,952.29, after tumbling more than 150 points and losing more than 5 percent of its value. The last time the Nasdaq traded — and closed — below 3,000 was Nov. 2, 1999.

Blue chips also suffered. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 122.86, or 1.16 percent, to 10,480.09. Earlier in the session the Dow was off more than 200 points.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was off 17.59 at 1,348.39.

The uncertainty on Wall Street was felt worldwide. Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 2.2 percent. In afternoon trading, Germany's DAX index was down 2.3 percent, Britain's FT-SE 100 was off about 2.0 percent, and France's CAC-40 was down 1.8 percent.

Hewlett Packard, a computer and printer maker, traded off $5.69, or 14 percent, at $33.56. The company said early Monday its fiscal fourth-quarter results per share were 10 cents below the expectation of Wall Street analysts.

H-P, a Dow component, joined other big high-tech firms in releasing disappointing earnings news and unnerving Wall Street. Last week, Dell Computer's revenue figures prompted investors to unload its stock, and the selling spread to other tech issues and the broader market.

Other technology stocks also fell Monday, including some of Wall Street's biggest names. Software computer Microsoft slipped $1.06 to $66.31. Sun Microsystems, which makes software, computers and computer chips, tumbled $4.38 to $84.81.

Among blue chips, banker J.P. Morgan was down $4.06 at $152.94. Citigroup was off $1.81 at $49.69.

Even pharmaceutical stocks, which are generally considered safer bets in time of volatility, suffered. Pfizer dropped $2.13 to $42. Merck was off $2.63 at $89.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by more than 2-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 742.07 million shares, ahead of the 652.33 million Friday.

The Russell 2000 index fell 10.20 to 470.70.


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