US STOCKS-HP, economy worries weigh on tech shares

* HP shares slide after 3PAR offer

* Utilities sector leads gains as buyers seek safety

* 3M CEO says may double acquisition spending in 2010

* Dow, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq down 0.44 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to early afternoon)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Aug 23 (BestGrowthStock) – Falling technology shares
weighed on the Nasdaq Composite index on Monday while gains by
utilities, healthcare and other defensive sectors kept the
broad market flat.

A possible bidding war over data storage company 3PAR
(PAR.N: ) between Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: ) and Dell Inc
(DELL.O: ) sent shares of HP 1.9 percent lower, which helped to
drag tech stocks down.

“The market’s worried HP may be overpaying for 3PAR,” said
Giri Cherukuri, head trader at OakBrook Investments LLC in
Chicago.

Lingering concerns about the stalling economic recovery and
its impact on profits further weighed on technology shares.

“I think it’s these economic numbers that have been coming
weak recently what people are trying to incorporate into the
future view of the technology (sector),” Cherukuri said.

Gloominess over softer-than-expected data, including
reports on jobless claims and regional manufacturing on
Thursday, dragged shares lower, and both the Dow and S&P 500
have notched two straight weeks of losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) edged up 1.02
points, or 0.01 percent, to 10,214.64. The Standard & Poor’s
500 (.SPX: ) gained 0.55 point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,072.24. The
Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC: ) dropped 9.56 points, or 0.44 percent,
to 2,170.20.

The S&P 500 was kept afloat by gains in utilities and
healthcare stocks, traditionally considered defensive plays as
they are less sensitive to the economy.

“The flip side of weaker economic numbers is that the more
stable sectors are doing better today,” Cherukuri said.

The S&P utilities sector (.GSPU: ) rose 1 percent while the
healthcare stocks (.GSPA: ) added 0.7 percent.

HP, the computer maker, bid $24 a share in cash for 3PAR,
topping an earlier bid from Dell. Shares of 3PAR surged 42.2
percent to $25.69, while HP dropped 1.9 percent to $39.10. Dell
shares fell 1.5 percent to $11.89. For details see
[ID:nN23188685].

In another major technology deal announced last week,
chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O: ) moved to acquire software maker
McAfee Inc (MFE.N: ) for $7.7 billion. [ID:nN19252526].

3M Co’s (MMM.N: ) Chief Executive George Buckley said the Dow
component may spend about $2 billion on acquisitions in 2010,
twice its previous estimate. 3M shares gained 1.1 percent to
$81.56. [ID:nTOE67M07U]

Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N: ) may make a $2.3 billion break-up
bid for Britain’s United Biscuits, which is owned by private
equity firms PAI Partners and Blackstone Group LP (BX.N: ).
Campbell shares were up 1 percent to $37.02. [ID:nN23196758]
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-HP, economy worries weigh on tech shares