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TECH STOCKS: Chips Lead Techs Lower, But Amazon Shines

By Benjamin Pimentel, MarketWatch SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Technology stocks slid into the red as falling semiconductor shares weighed the sector down, offsetting gains in shares of Amazon.com Inc., which got a lift from its rollout of a new tablet. The chip retreat was led by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), which fell 5.2% to close at $6.15, while LSI Corp. (LSI) lost 5.6% to close at $5.44 and SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) declined 3.3% to close at $41.78. In a note, J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Danely wrote that "most investors we met with last week indicated they are waiting for another round of estimate cuts in October and a resolution in the European financial crisis before buying semiconductor stocks." However, Danely also said that in his view, "semiconductor stocks have bottomed and that investors should buy before the likely 1Q12 recovery." That view apparently was not widely shared by investors Wednesday, as the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) slid 2.9%. The index has lost more than 13% since Jan. 1. But the tech sector got a lift from Amazon.com (AMZN), which was trading up 2.5% to close at $229.71 as the company unveiled its new anticipated tablet. The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) slipped 2.2% to close at 2,492. Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL) stock rose 8.4% to close at $18.84 after the contract manufacturer reported upbeat earnings and a stronger-than-expected outlook. Shares of Accenture PLC (ACN) added a fraction to close at $53.83 after the IT services and consulting firm reported a jump in profit. IT services and distribution firm Synnex Corp. (SNX) also saw its stock rise 9.4% to close at $27.26 after the company posted strong quarterly results. Among the notable decliners was Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR), which slipped 5.4% to close at $18.85. In a note, FBN Securities analyst Shelby Seyrafi initiated coverage of the stock with a sector-perform rating, saying Juniper "has many new product cycles beginning, but service-provider spending is slowing while Cisco is becoming more aggressive." Seyrafi also initiated coverage of Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) with an outperform rating. Cisco shares fell 1.4% to close at $15.84.

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