Opening Bell Report

The sell-off in tech stocks continued in earnest as investors worried about reduced spending by financial services firms. The Dow dropped more than 100 points to 13,155 while Nasdaq lost 40 points to 2655.

On the upside

Merck (NYSE: MRK) settled thousands of lawsuits related to its painkiller Vioxx drug for $4.85 billion. Investors appeared relieved as the stock edged up.

Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) bucked the trend amid the sell-off in tech stocks as analysts upgraded the stock for the upside in its solar equipment business.

Priceline (Nasdaq: PCLN) posted revenues and earnings that beat expectations as analysts upgraded the online travel company.

On the downside

Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) called off its joint venture to build a nationwide WiFi network.

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) warned that it may miss projections due to competition from rival maker of chips for mobile handsets.

Financial services firms continued to sell off on rumors of more loan losses and massive writedowns as well as reports that the market for second mortgages is nonexistant. Shares of Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) fell again and may test multi-year lows.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by a margin of 4 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 14 points to 766.

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