News Burst: Markets punish PC makers

Weak sales data for Europe and the US means gloom for PC manufacturers

The stock markets hammered PC manufacturers Monday, as new data on worldwide PC growth increasingly suggested that 1999's tremendous demand was a Y2K-inspired anomaly.

The US and Europe came in at the bottom of the table for year-on-year sales growth, according to information from several analysis firms.

Dell Computer closed down 5-60/64 to 46-7/16 and Apple Computer fell 4-7/8 to 48-11/16. The American Stock Exchange Computer Hardware index finished down 4.42 percent at 407.54.

Hewlett-Packard fell 5-3/16 to 118-13/16 in composite New York Stock Exchange trading. In other NYSE trading, Gateway fell 4-1/4 to 58-5/8, Compaq Computer fell 13/16 to 26-15/16 and International Business Machines fell 2-1/4 to 112-1/2.

European PC sales in the April-June period were only 7.3 percent higher than the same quarter a year ago, according to market researcher Context. That was even weaker than the first quarter of the year, when sales were up only eight percent from the previous year.

"[For Europe] it's the worst quarter ever," said Jeremy Davies of Context.

More details to follow.

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