By Rex Crum
The tech sector put in a disappointing trading session Tuesday with nearly every major sector leader following the broad market into the red as concerns mounted about the state of the euro and the ongoing European debt crisis.
Among leading tech stocks, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) fell 73 cents a share to $46.79 with its quarterly earnings on tap for after the market close. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research estimate H-P will earn $1.06 a share on $29.86 billion in sales for its fiscal second quarter.
Leading the decline was the negative sentiment about Europe and whether another so-called "flash crash" of the market could occur, similar to the one that happened earlier this month.
Decliners also included EMC Corp. (EMC), Seagate Technology (STX), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Dell Inc. (DELL) and Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO)
QAD Inc. (QADI) shares fell 48 cents, or more than 8%, to $5.23 after the maker of software for manufacturers gave a weaker-than-expected quarterly forecast. The company now expects to lose 4 cents to 5 cents a share on $50 million to $51 million in sales, down from earlier estimates of a profit of 3 cents a share on $54 million in revenue.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) actually spent part of the morning posting decent gains, but then tumbled along with the rest of the market to fall almost 37 points, or 1.6%, to close at 2,317. The Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) was off by 1.7% and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) gave up nearly 3%.
The few gainers included RightNow Technologies Inc. (RNOW), which rose 53 cents a share, or 3.4%,to $15.93.
Before the market opened, FBR Capital Markets analyst David Hilal raised his rating on the software firm to outperform from market perform. Hilal said that he expects RightNow to get more deals involving contact centers for customer-service operations and sign more bookings in the coming months.