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Monday, 3 April, 2000, 22:10 GMT 23:10 UK
Tech shares plummet
nasdaq index
Technology shares are on the slide following the breakdown of anti-trust settlement talks between Microsoft and the Justice Department.

The US technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite index saw its biggest points loss to date, plunging 8% or 349 points to 4,223 by close of trade on Monday.

Microsoft shares tumbled 14.5% to $90.75 ahead of the verdict.

However, the Dow Jones industrial average reaped the benefit as money flowed into "old economy" stocks, particularly financials such as American Express and JP Morgan.

Traders said the sector was boosted by strong earnings forecasts.

The blue-chip Dow index finished the day 300 points, or 2.5%, higher.

Investors "are paring off their high-flyers, their volatility stocks, and moving into the Dow," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at Wachovia Securities in Atlanta.

The mediator in the Microsoft case said on Saturday that four months of settlement talks had ended in failure.

District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson will issue his findings of law in the case on whether Microsoft broke anti-trust laws with its overwhelming dominance of the personal computer operating systems market.

Shares shudder

Microsoft, which is also a Dow component, was the volume leader on the Nasdaq market.

The breakdown of the talks and the prospective verdict sent a shudder through technology stocks around the world on Monday.

European markets, including France, Germany and the UK, were also hit by the slump in sentiment.

A dealer at a German bank said that there was a "switch" taking place from the new economy stocks to the undervalued old economy "laggards", and that the market was being led in this process by the US.

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02 Apr 00 | Business
Time running out for Microsoft
31 Mar 00 | Business
Tech stock trouble
22 Feb 00 | Microsoft
Microsoft trial resumes
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