It's looking pretty ugly out there.
At 9:04 a.m. EDT, the
S&P 500 futures
were down 11 points, about 12 points below fair value and an indication of some moderate selling pressure in the early going. The
futures were off earlier lows, but still down 60 points, indicating some good selling in large-cap tech stocks at the open.
But with no new news to drive such pessimism this morning, it looks like the market simply has a bad attitude and a lack of confidence in the direction of the economy, and with good enough reason.
Until the market gets some more economic data to bite into, it will be unclear whether or not inflation has slowed, and how much more the
could raise rates. In the meantime, the recent 50-basis point rate increase to 6.5% can't help company earnings going forward. While the market had already priced in a hike of that size, with first-quarter earnings season all but over, investors are now looking forward to next quarter's earnings reports.
"We'll probably be stuck in a trading range with a bias toward downside for a while," said Jim Benning, a trader at
. "It's mostly concern over what the Fed is going to do."
Meanwhile, some are saying the
isn't going to return to its high-flying heights, as the tech stock run was sustained by an artificial monetary base which no longer exists: Y2K contingency funds pumped into the banking system by the Fed late last year. For more on this, see Justin Lahart's
In any case, it will likely be another lackluster volume day in the neighborhood. But while some say low volume could be an indication of a bear market, others say recent volume levels aren't such a big deal. While volume has continually hit new lows for the year in recent action, it hasn't been much lighter than its strongest days in 1999.
Meanwhile, some good news: equity mutual funds reported inflows of $7.9 billion for the week ended yesterday, according to
AMG Data Services
. It was the largest inflow in eight weeks, with 51% going to growth funds and 44% going to global and international funds. Though it doesn't look like anyone cares, this could be a good sign for tech stocks, usually considered to be high-growth.
The market will continue to ogle telecommunications companies
today, after antitrust authorities announced their opposition to WorldCom's $115 billion buyout of Sprint. This news was partly blamed for some of the heavy selling in the Nasdaq yesterday.
And the earnings trickle won't resume until next week, with some 99% of this quarter's earnings already out.
The Treasury market was sitting tight this morning, and the 10-year note was unchanged at 99 21/32 and yielding 6.544%.
Asian markets were mixed overnight following the Nasdaq's woes yesterday.
In Hong Kong, the market ended the week up on bargain hunting after hitting a six-month low the previous day. The
closed 155.66 higher to 14478.26.
Japanese investors weren't ready to jump back in and look for bargains, however, and the benchmark
fell to an eight-month low on continued weakness in large-cap techs, closing down 173.46 to 16,858.17.
The greenback fell slightly against the yen, fetching 108.33 yen. The dollar was continuing its slide, lately trading lower at 107.01.
Indices in the Philippines and Singapore closed moderately lower, while South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan indices ended trading higher.
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