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TECH STOCKS: Intel, IBM Weigh Down Techs, But Yahoo Rises

By Benjamin Pimentel, MarketWatch SAN FRANCSICO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Intel Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. slipped Wednesday, leading a tech sector retreat and weighing down the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the two giants' reports disappointed Wall Street. Intel (INTC) slid 1.8% to close at $27.95 after the world's biggest chipmaker beat Wall Street estimates, but its gross margin forecast for the current quarter was a tad lower than expected. "The company beat numbers by a bit in the first quarter, and raised revenue estimates for the second quarter," Bernstein Research analyst Stacy Rasgon said in a note. "However, we get the feeling that the investment community might have anticipated a larger raise than was offered." IBM (IBM) shares shed 3.5% to close at $200.13 after the company reported flat sales. In a note, Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu wrote, "IBM's global and diverse business model continues to allow it to deliver strong results despite a tougher macroeconomic environment." But he also cited tough year-over-year comparisons especially in Big Blue's hardware business, and the company's high exposure in the financial services market. Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares slipped a fraction to close at $608.34. On the other hand, Yahoo (YHOO) shares gained 3.2% to close at $15.49 as investors welcomed a glimmers of hope from the struggling Web portal, as the company beat Wall Street's earnings projections. Also giving the sector a lift were shares of Seagate Technology (STX) which added 3.8% to close at $28.96 after the hard disk drive maker posted a surge in profit. In a sign of recovery for the hard disk drive industry, which was hurt by the impact of the Thailand flooding disaster, rival Western Digital (WDC) also saw its shares rise 5.2% to close at $41.56. But these gains were not enough to keep the tech sector afloat, as the Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) gave up 11 points, or 0.4%, to close at 3,031. The Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (SOX) and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) were each down a fraction.

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