Google Downgrade Sends Tech Stocks Down; AAPL Drops 4%

A downgrade on Google's stock from ThinkEquity analyst William Morrison sent tech stocks packing, dragging shares in Apple Inc. down in the stampede. Mr. Morrison questioned the recent run-up in Google's stock, saying that the online advertising market continues to worsen.

"We have been surprised at the magnitude and speed of the move, especially given the fundamental outlook for online advertising, which continues to worsen," Mr. Morrison said in a research note quoted by MarketWatch. he also wrote that the recent run-up in Google "reflected a [second-half of 2009] recovery that we believe is unlikely to materialize."

The outlook helped send tech stocks in retreat with all of the major players in negative territory, including Microsoft ($18.37 per share, down $0.59 (-3.11%)), IBM ($91.13, down $2.71 (-2.89%)), Google ($342.96, down $14.72 (-4.12%)), Yahoo! ($12.14, down $0.70 (-5.45%)), and the NASDAQ itself (1,479.33, down 55.03 (-3.59%))

In the mid-afternoon trading session, AAPL was trading at $94.92 per share, down $4.24 (-4.28%) in moderate volume.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.