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Tech, poor auction hits Wall St.; banks up late

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stocks slid on Thursday as investors took profits from the technology sector’s recent surge, while analyst downgrades hurt telecoms and a tepid response to a government bond auction raised fears about public finances.

Bank stocks also succumbed to profit-taking, with the KBW Bank index .BKX dropping 3.5 percent, a day after leaked results from so-called stress tests suggested that most U.S. banks were healthier than previously thought.

But stock index futures rose after the official government results were released at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) as regulators told leading banks to raise $74.6 billion to build a capital cushion officials hope will restore faith in financial firms and set a course out of the deepest recession in decades.

Shares of several major banks, including Citigroup C.N also rose after the bell, with Citi gaining 6.6 percent to $4.06 after regulators said the bank's capital need was $5.5 billion. Citi had ended the regular session down 1.3 percent.

"The results should end the concerns about failure or nationalization," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at NorthStar Investment Management Corp in Chicago. The Select Sector SPDR Financial ETF XLF.P rose 1.2 percent after the bell.

In the regular session investors worried that poor demand for government debt could raise the cost of capital and hamper chances of a U.S. economic recovery.

U.S. debt prices slid, sending the 30-year Treasury bond yield to its highest since November.

“The auction is big news because now it’s showing that maybe the Chinese don’t want our bonds. If the cost of capital for the United States becomes more expensive, then the recession is going to take that much longer to get out of,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

Shares of International Business Machines Corp IBM.N, down 2 percent to $102.59, were the Dow's top drag, while Apple Inc AAPL.O, off 2.6 percent, pressured the Nasdaq.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The semiconductor index .SOXX fell 6 percent, but is still up 33.6 percent since the broader market's 12-year low of March 9. Tech has provided a crucial underpinning of the market's run-up since then, along with bank stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI dropped 102.43 points, or 1.2 percent, to 8,409.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX slid 12.14 points, or 1.32 percent, to 907.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC fell 42.86 points, or 2.44 percent, to 1,716.24.

The $14 billion Treasury bond auction met below-average demand from investors, who bid aggressively to force the government to pay a higher yield as it pushed ahead with plans to help finance its burgeoning budget deficit with more longer-term debt.

Other tech casualties included Hewlett-Packard HPQ.N, off 5 percent at $34.53 and Qualcomm QCOM.O, down 3.2 percent to $42.34. Shares of networking equipment maker Cisco Systems CSCO.O fell 3.4 percent to $18.95 despite the company posting a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit late on Wednesday.

Homebuilders were also losers on Thursday, with the Dow Jones home construction index .DJUSHB off 6 percent. Shares of big manufacturers were hit hard, with Caterpillar Inc CAT.N sliding 5.2 percent to $37.92.

At Thursday’s closing, the S&P 500 showed a gain of 34.1 percent from the March 9 low, paring back from the rise of 36 percent it had through Wednesday session.

Among banks stocks, shares of JPMorgan JPM.N slid 5.3 percent to $35.24 in regular trade, and were little changed after the stress test results. The government concluded that the No. 2 U.S. bank had no need to raise additional capital.

Shares of Bank of America BAC.N rose 6.8 percent after the bell to $14.43 after regulators said the largest U.S. bank would need $33.9 billion of fresh capital, in line with what had been leaked earlier. The stock had ended regular trading up 6.5 percent.

Wells Fargo WFC.N shares slid 7.8 percent to $24.76 in regular trading. After the bell the bank announced a $6 billion common stock offering after regulators told the bank to raise $13.7 billion of capital by November 9.

Trading volume was active on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 1.97 billion shares changing hands, above last year’s estimated daily average volume of 1.49 billion, while on Nasdaq, about 3.22 billion shares traded, also well above last year’s daily average of 2.28 billion.

Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones by a more than 9-to-5 ratio on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.

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