By Benjamin Pimentel, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Technology stocks slid late Friday, weighed down by losses in shares of Apple Inc. and Internet companies, but the Nasdaq Composite Index ended the first quarter with solid gains.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares slipped 1.7% to close at $599.55.
On Thursday, the Fair Labor Association, of which Apple is a member, announced that the company's manufacturing partner Foxconn had agreed to make significant changes to the way it operates factories in China.
The Nasdaq (RIXF) dipped about 4 points, or 0.1%, to close at 3,092. The benchmark ended the quarter up 19%.
Also in the red on Friday were shares of Internet giants, led by Google Inc.(GOOG) , Amazon.com(AMZN) , AOL Inc. (AOL) , Yahoo Inc.(YHOO) and eBay Inc.
Shares of Intel Corp. (INTC) slid 0.2% to close at $28.11, one of the top decliners on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) which ended the session up 66 points.
Shares of Micron Technology (MU) also sank nearly 4% to close at $8.10, one of the top decliners on the S&P 500 (SPX) which gained 5 points or 0.4%.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) also advanced, gaining 0.4%.
The tech sector got a lift from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) as the stock rose 1.4% to close at $23.83, the second highest gainer on the Dow.
Also rising were shares of Research In Motion (RIMM) , which added 7% to close at $14.70 a day after the maker of the BlackBerry devices posted a loss and announced changes to its management team and board.
However, some analysts saw the company still facing serious challenges, including stiffening competition from Apple.
"We continue to be cautious on RIM as we believe the company's integrated strategy continues to greatly lag Apple's," Wedbush analyst Scott Sutherland said in a note. "While Apple is moving forward with iCloud and other connected devices, RIM continues to focus on its [operating system] and device upgrades in smartphones and tablets."
The tech sector was also weighed down by losses in software stocks, including Oracle Corp. (ORCL) , Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) , Salesforce.com (C) and Red Hat Inc. (RHT).
Shares of Tibco Software Inc. (TIBX) were down 6% closing at $30.50 after the infrastructure software developer reported a jump in profit, but one that was not as impressive as in recent quarters.
"The results were generally in line with expectations following several quarters of strong beats," BMO Capital analyst Karl Keirstead said in a note. "The total revenue growth guidance of 13% in fiscal second-quarter 2012 would be the first time in two years that growth would be below 20%; the 10% growth rate in the Americas was the lowest in over two years."