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Low Oracle earnings data hurt tech stocks

Technology stocks fell Wednesday, dragged down by a weak earnings report from the business software maker Oracle Corp.

Broad market indexes were flat. The Dow Jones industrial average eked out a gain of 4.16 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 12,107.74, after having been down 104 points at midday.

Technology stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2 percent. Oracle plunged 11.66 percent after the business software company said it was struggling to close deals.

The rare earnings miss by Oracle seemed to reinforce worries that businesses and the government may cut back on technology spending.

Those worries hurt other big technology companies. IBM Corp. was by far the biggest loser in the Dow, falling 3.08 percent to $181.47. A bright spot was BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd., which jumped 10.06 percent to $13.78 on rumors it might be a takeover target.

Investors also had more to worry about from Europe. New data showed extensive lending from the European Central Bank to European banks. The initial reaction to the $639 billion in lending by the ECB was positive, but then worry set in that Europe's banks needed so much help in the first place.

-- AP

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