Stocks Open Lower; Oracle Drags Down Tech Shares

Stocks Open Lower; Oracle Drags Down Tech Shares
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Stocks opened lower Wednesday, led by technology shares, after Oracle Corp. plunged on a disappointing earnings report.

The Nasdaq composite index, which is heavily weighted with technology companies, fell 36 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,567 in the first half-hour of trading.

Broader market indicators had smaller declines. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 31, or 0.3 percent, at 12,051. It jumped 337 the day before. IBM Corp. fell 3.4 percent, the most among the 30 stocks in the Dow.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,237.

Oracle plunged 13 percent after the business software company said it was struggling to close deals. The results seemed to reinforce worries that businesses and the government may cut back on technology spending.

Walgreen Co. sank 7.2 percent after the drugstore chain said quarterly profits fell more than 4 percent after a slow year for flu shots. Walgreen said it made no progress in staying with a pharmacy network that provides $5.3 billion of its annual revenue. Walgreen says filling those prescriptions is unprofitable.

Nike Inc. shares rose 1.9 percent after the shoemaker reported strong demand and higher prices for its shoes and clothing.

European markets gave up early gains. Germany’s DAX was down 0.4 percent. New data showed extensive lending from the European Central Bank to European banks. Early optimism at the extent of the bank’s assistance gave way to worries that it was only treating the symptoms of the debt crisis.

Joshua Freed | Assoicated Press

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