The stock shock heard round the world

If it bleeds, it leads, the old newspaper saying goes. This week was a bleeder from the get-go.

If it bleeds, it leads, the old newspaper saying goes. This week was a bleeder from the get-go.

The party officially came to an end Monday for tech investors as the Dow Jones industrial average and the NASDAQ composite index both suffered their worst one-day point loss in history.

More instability on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and unprecedented selling gripped Wall Street, forcing the Dow down 554.26 points, or 7.2 percent, to 7161.15; and the NASDAQ down 115.44 points, or 7 percent, to 1535.48.

The 554-point loss eclipsed the previous record set on "Black Monday:" Oct. 19, 1987, when the Dow shed 508 points, although the percentage drop 10 years ago was much worse.

The following day saw a record uptick in the Dow. Stockbrokers also made a run on Tums, according to well-placed sources.

Meanwhile, the ax swung hard Wednesday at Silicon Graphics Inc., which announced job cuts of up to 9 percent and the resignations of CEO Ed McCracken and a top lieutenant.

The troubled maker of computer workstations announced it will slash between 700 and 1,000 jobs -- many more than anticipated -- from its workforce of 11,000.

America Online, meanwhile, got a nasty reminder of its past failings.

AOL customers were unable to send and receive E-mail for up to 10 hours Wednesday and early Thursday morning. The outage, which the company blamed on a "hardware problem," lasted from 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday to shortly past midnight.

Analysts said it was still too early to gauge whether the brownout was a symptom of greater problems at AOL. But the fact that its customers still encounter periodic connection problems comes as an embarrassment to the service, which recently concluded a six-month, $350-million network expansion.

All this bad news is apparently driving some workers to the seedy corners of cyberspace.

If you believe the latest research, the cubicles of corporate America are steaming up like adult movie theaters. More and more workers are taking company time to type three letters on their keyboards: XXX.

The numbers are startling. One researcher claims 25 percent of Net-enabled workers dial in to porn sites during office hours. That's why employers, concerned that productivity is affected, are considering workplace policies to address the issue, and software makers are developing technological methods to unplug the bawdy browsers.

Check out ZDNN's News Special on the Headline Scan.


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