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Stocks fell across all of our indexes Thursday, despite positive earnings from AT&T and other leading IT companies and a surprising drop in the number of new filers for unemployment benefits. However, some IT vendors, including Computer Associates and Veritas Software, bucked the trend and closed the day with big gains in stock prices.
The markets were up for most of the day, buoyed by AT&T's better-than-expected earnings report late Wednesday and a report that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell below 400,000 for the first time in five months to 386,000. But the markets turned south in the last minutes of trading.
Computer Associates' stock rose $2.98, or 13.4%, to $25.22, and Veritas Software's stock was up 8.2%, or $2.29, to $30.20, after each reported better-than-expected earnings after the markets closed Wednesday. Symantec's share price was up 9.3%, or $3.98, to $46.58 after it raised sales and earnings estimates. But EDS's stock fell 9.4%, or $2.15, to $20.80 after reporting that its second-quarter earnings were down 56%.
Our InformationWeek 100 fell 3.50 points or 1.4% to close at 250.87, while the Nasdaq index as a whole fell 17.73 or 1.0% to finish the day at 1,701.42. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock closed at $31.29, down 47 cents or 1.5%. Trading volume was moderate, as more than 72 million shares of the tracking stock exchanging hands. The Dow Jones industrials fell 81.73 points or 0.9% to close at 9,112.51, while the S&P 500 fell 7.01, or 0.7%, to finish at 981.60.