March 19, 1997 2:00 PM ET

Tech stocks off in market slide
By Margaret Kane

  Tech stocks fell sharply in Wednesday morning trading, continuing a sell-off in the industry that began several weeks ago.

The NASDAQ Composite Index, heavily weighted with technology stocks, was recently down 22.05 points to 1247.29.

Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., both of which are part of the NASDAQ Composite, were off $3.50 and $3.75, respectively.

Meanwhile, the stocks of direct hardware manufacturers Dell Computer Corp. and Gateway 2000 Inc. began to slide severely yesterday after Compaq Computer Corp. said it would beef up its direct sales efforts. This morning, Dell fell $3.50 to $51.25, and Gateway was down $2.50 to $47.63. But Compaq fell as well, dropping $1.75 to $73.13.

Another significant loser was Ascend Communications, which saw its stock price descend $5.50, to $42.63.

Technology stocks soared along with the rest of the bull market last year and toward the beginning of this year, but have headed downward in recent weeks. The NASDAQ composite has slipped almost 8 percent from its late January peak.

But today's downturn may be part of a general market decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 50 points this morning, at 6844.

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