* Oracle shares slide after weak results
* U.S. home resales rise, jobless claims up but on trend
* Dow off 0.3 pct; S&P 500 off 0.4 pct, Nasdaq off 0.7 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 21 Technology and
commodity-related stocks led Wall Street lower on Thursday after
Oracle's sharp miss on quarterly results and oil and metal
prices fell on concern about growth in the euro zone.
The worries about Cypriot finances increased after the
European Union gave Cyprus until Monday to raise the billions of
euros it needs to get an international bailout - or face the
collapse of its financial system and likely exit from the euro
This ultimatum intensified the risk level and increased
investors' uncertainty, according to Chad Morganlander,
portfolio manager at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co in Florham Park, New
"The uncertainty within Cyprus has investors cycling into
the risk-off trade," Morganlander said.
Gold and U.S. Treasury debt prices rose, and the euro
dropped close to a four-month low against the U.S. dollar.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 43.73 points or
0.30 percent, to 14,468. The S&P 500 lost 5.66 points or
0.36 percent, to 1,553.05. The Nasdaq Composite dropped
21.54 points or 0.66 percent, to 3,232.65.
The technology sector led the S&P 500's decline. The
benchmark index is on track to post its largest percentage
weekly drop so far this year.
Oracle Corp shares lost 8.3 percent to $32.80 after
a number of brokerages cut their price targets on the stock
following a massive miss on its third-quarter results.
Another cause for concern: Data showed the euro zone's
economy contracted more than expected in March, which
overshadowed a batch of data suggesting the U.S. economic
recovery was on the right track and solid first-quarter growth
A downward trend in jobless claims, an increase in factory
activity and a rise in sales of existing homes pointed to
growing momentum in the U.S. economy during the first quarter of
But the weak data from Europe drove down oil and copper
prices. The S&P basic materials sector index fell 0.9
percent, making it the biggest drag behind technology.
Shares of apparel retailers Guess, Tilly's
and Pacific Sunwear of California slumped after they
forecast first-quarter results significantly below analysts'
Guess fell 5.4 percent to $25.49, Tilly's shed 6.6 percent
to $12.85, and Pacific Sunwear lost 9.8 percent to $2.20.