|10:28 EDT||FB, WDC, MSFT, GOOG, DELL, LNKD, STX, HPQ||Wall Street sours on Microsoft following weak PC data|
Microsoft (MSFT) is sinking after two research firms slashed their ratings on the stock following an industry report that said PC shipments had tumbled 13.9% in the first quarter. WHAT'S NEW: In a note to investors earlier today, Goldman Sachs downgraded Microsoft's shares to Sell from Neutral. The company will be hurt by accelerating market share losses for PCs, along with its lack of gains in the tablet and smartphone market, Goldman believes. The firm set a $27 price target on the shares. Also today, Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund downgraded the software maker to Neutral from Buy, citing declining PC sales last quarter. "Sluggish" sales of Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system and its lack of "compelling" new hardware products are disappointing, the analyst added. He set a $30 price target on the shares, which he believes remain attractive for value-oriented investors. Both analysts cited research from International Data Corporation as a reason for the downgrade. The firm reported last night that shipments of PCs had tumbled 13.9% in the first quarter of the year versus the same period in 2012. The decline was the largest drop since IDC began collecting data in 1994. TODAY'S PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Microsoft dropped $1.40, or 4.6%, to $28.90. PC makers also fell on the PC sales data, with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) sinking 5.5% to $21.10 and Dell losing 0.5% to $14.14. OTHERS TO WATCH: Western Digital (WDC), which makes hard disk drives, declined 2.6% to $51.83 and its competitor, Seagate (STX), gave back 2.75% to $36.70.