Dell yesterday caused further panic in the tech-markets, after issuing a profit warning.

The company’s stock fell $3, to close at $25.375. Dell warned investors that if current sales trends continue, it would return only 27 per cent growth, rather than the projected 30 per cent.

The stock of Akamai, Adobe, Motorola, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and Gateway all fell yesterday, and the minor rally of Apple shares came to an end. Nasdaq lost another 51 points, to close at 3472.10 on the day.

Apple and Intel had already issued profit warnings prior to the Dell bombshell. Industry pundits say it is now clear that PC sales are slowing down.

Andrew Brown, a senior analyst with Personal Systems Research, said: "The first half of the year has been pretty slow. There’s been a slow-down of corporate growth and investment has fallen in hardware.

"We don’t believe this is a long-term trend. The small-medium business demand for hardware has been strong, so there’s enormous potential in this middle ground, which vendors are trying to target. The growth rate in the last financial quarter should also rebound with Christmas sales."