Techs Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

It’s no kids’ book with a soothing conclusion: The stock market took its seventh consecutive round of losses on Thursday and who knows how this story will end.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 8,582.13, marking its lowest closing point in more than five years, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped under 1,700 points – its lowest point since Aug. 2003.

Thursday’s hits again punched the telecom/tech sector, with many companies’ shares hitting new lows.

The two leading telecom indicators – AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. – were not spared. AT&T (T) shares fell 7 percent to close at $23 – just 95 cents away from the 52-week low. Verizon (VZ) finished the day at $25.93, setting a new 52-week low. Both companies report third-quarter earnings later this month and analysts fear the entire industry will suffer if the numbers show a battering by the stock and credit markets.

Qwest Communications International Inc. (Q), the country’s third-largest Bell company, had similar bad fortune. Shares closed at $2.28, two cents below its previous 52-week low. Wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) also had a tough time. Shares closed at $3.76, a 15.32 percent drop that set a new 52-week low for the Kansas City provider.

CLECs fared no better.

PAETEC (PAET) closed at 89 cents, surpassing its 52-week low of $1.03. The same went for Cbeyond Inc. (CBEY) Shares ended at $9.19, down nearly 8 percent and creating a new bottom. tw telecom inc. (TWTC) faced the same problem. The Colorado-based CLEC closed at $6.39, almost a dollar under its 52-week low. Level 3 Communications Inc. (LVLT) hit a new 52-week low as well: $1.47, a plunge of 17.88 percent. XO Holdings Inc. (XOHO) lost 3.33 percent of its value, closing at 29 cents.

VoIP, CDN, ILEC and equipment companies had little good news to report as well.

Vonage Holdings Inc. (VG), which is having trouble refinancing its $253 million debt, dropped 5.8 percent to 65 cents.

California ILEC SureWest Communications (SURW) managed to stay somewhat above the fray. The IPTV provider closed at $13.85, down 2.81 percent and a safe margin away from its lowest 52-week point of $7.25.

In the CDN space, Limelight Networks Inc. (LLNW) dropped $2.04, staying 29 cents away from its lowest price over the past year.

Equipment makers floundered, too.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) found a new low at $17.19. Nortel Networks (NT) fell to $1.69, down 7.64 percent. Struggling Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) closed at $2.54, setting a new low by four cents.


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