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Md. issues share in the losses Technology stocks and Alex. Brown are among victims

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Maryland technology stocks weren't spared yesterday's throttling as the Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.99 points and the Nasdaq combined composite index slipped 27.29 points.

Comnet Corp., a Lanham-based software developer, led the group, losing 30 percent of its value. It closed at $13 a share, down $4.

Alex. Brown Inc., the Baltimore-based investment banking firm, was pinched, too, as shares dropped $2.25 for a closing of $53.25. The firm is a major player in underwriting high-technology stocks.

"If [high-tech] stocks go down, people would associate that with less underwriting," said Mayo A. Shattuck III, Alex. Brown's president and chief operating officer.

Mr. Shattuck emphasized that Alex. Brown is a diversified firm, so it is insulated from problems in the high-tech segment of the industry.

"We are still not that far off from our high this year," Mr. Shattuck said.

Alex. Brown hit a high of $60.75 on Sept. 5 and bounced around the high $50s before drifting to $53.25 yesterday.

Dean Eberling, an analyst with Prudential Securities Inc., said investors were simply taking profits on Alex. Brown stock, which has had a "huge run" in its price.

He expects Alex. Brown's third-quarter results to be better than the second quarter, when it reported a 40 percent increase in revenues.

Other area high-tech companies hit by the sell-off included: Fusion Systems Corp., down $1.50 to $26.75; Information Resources Engineering Inc., down $1.25 to $17.75; and Manugistics Group Inc., down $1.25 to $14.75.

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