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.

Fool contributor Alex Dumortier holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems, and Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a synthetic long position in International Business Machines. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.