After a brief rally early in the week, stocks edged downward early Thursday following a report that jobless claims jumped to a nine-year high, boosted partly by layoffs after the terrorist attacks. Weakness in the tech sector due to downgrades and earnings revisions offset modest gains in other areas.
Slight gains throughout the index were not enough to boost the sea of red ink. The EBN
100 Stock Index continued the decline it began the second week of August.
Semiconductor stocks tumbled further on Thursday amid concern about lower demand for personal computers, handheld electronic devices, cell phones, and computer servers. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index hit a near-three-year low of 343.93, its lowest level since December 1998.
Methode Electronics declared a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share and announced it was among Deloitte & Touche's 2001 "Technology Fast 50" for the greater Chicago area, boosting its stock price this week.
Arrow, Nu Horizons, and Reptron posted moderate gains, helping to boost the distribution sector. Nu Horizons recently announced it would become the exclusive distributor of Vitesse Semiconductor's line of chipsets for communication equipment manufacturers.
Jabil Circuit posted double-digit gains, helping to boost the sector. Despite Merrill Lynch cutting its earnings estimates on major EMS providers Wednesday, citing the slow economy and supply chain interruptions caused by the World Trade Center attacks, the sector saw the biggest improvement this week.