October 4, 2012
The technology sector provided the three biggest percentage losers in the Dow index (INDEX: ^DJI ) , which gained 0.6% today. The guilty three were International Business Machines, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) . Not surprisingly, tech was also the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) .
For Cisco, even news that the company has promoted two senior executives to the role of 'president' --reported after the close of the regular session during which shares were down 0.2% --provided no lift to the stock in after hours. The dual promotions appear to be a sharpening of the network equipment maker's succession strategy, despite CEO John Chambers' assurance in an interview that "It's not a two-horse race at all, and it's not a race."
Perhaps the market is concerned with the risks associated with any change in the C-suite. After all, as our Foolish technology analyst wrote in our premium report on Cisco: "Whether Cisco can make good on its market position and considerable resources is a function of how well management performs, and no one on Cisco's team matters more than CEO John Chambers." To understand the opportunity Cisco represents, and receive a full year of updates, click here to order your premium report now.
Meanwhile, chipmaker Intel was the worst-performing Dow stock, losing 0.4%. I suspect that the loss was linked to the news, first reported after market hours on Wednesday, that chip manufacturing equipment producer Applied Materials will cut 6% to 9% of its global workforce in response to sluggish demand. Applied Materials counts Intel among its customers.