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Weak Oracle sales weigh on U.S. shares

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- Stocks fell on Wall Street Thursday as Oracle's weak sales results weighed down big U.S. technology companies. Traders worried about Cyprus running out of time to avoid bankruptcy.

Major indexes followed European markets lower at the open. The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 98 points. By mid-day they had pared the losses. Shortly before noon eastern time, the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index were down about 0.3 percent. The Nasdaq composite index, which is heavily weighted toward tech shares, declined more than 0.6 percent.

All three indexes felt the drag from technology stocks after Oracle reported an unexpected decline in sales in its fiscal third quarter. Oracle was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 index; Juniper networks also fell steeply. The S&P 500 fell five points to 1,553.

The Dow dropped 36 points to 14,476. Cisco was the Dow's biggest loser, followed by IBM, H-P and Intel.

The Nasdaq fell 20 points to 3,234.

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