Skip to main content

Yesterday's technology plunge is going to extend itself into the early part of today's session.

At 9:10 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500 futures

were down 7.5 points, more than 5 points below fair value and indicating a solidly negative open. The

Nasdaq 100

futures were down 62.15 points, indicating some heavy selling in large-cap technology stocks in the early going.

Maybe it's for the best. Early bounces from big selloffs rarely hold anyway.

"If there were an early bounce, I think the problem would be, then what?" said Peter Coolidge, managing director of trading at

Brean Murray Foster Securities

. "Would sellers come back in? I don't see what would stabilize the market."

About the only thing more remarkable than the scale of yesterday's 250-point Nasdaq

selloff was the relatively nonchalant attitude with which traders greeted it. The feeling on most desks seemed to be that the action was nothing special -- just the usual "little profit-taking" you'd expect to see after a run-up like

Friday's. The relatively light volume on the Nasdaq would seem to bear out the notion that yesterday was hardly a broad stampede.

"They ran these OTCs up so far and so fast that they had to come down," said one trader, exemplifying Wall Street's tendency to take the long view during large declines.

At least the professionals are growing accustomed to extreme volatility. Faced with the prospect of margin calls and the possibility of having their stop orders wiped out during big market swings, active retail investors have likely found the Nasdaq a rather frightening place to be lately.

"The market is starting to work itself out, but right now is a nervous, rocky, scary time to be in tech," Coolidge said.

Meanwhile, yesterday dashed any hopes that the arrival of earnings season would do much to calm the market. We'll probably have to wait until next week for the number of first-quarter reports coming in to grow sufficiently diverting. The

earnings slate is rather sparse again today, with

International Paper

(IP) - Get Free Report


Harley Davidson


among the companies scheduled to report.

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Free Report

is already out with numbers in line with estimates.

The bond market was adding to its recent gains, with the 10-year note up 14/32 to 105 28/32 and yielding 5.713%. No major data are in the pipeline today, but



Alan Greenspan

will address the National Skills Summit in Washington at noon on the topic of the labor market.

The large European bourses were

sinking in afternoon trade, with technology, media and telecom stocks hardest hit. The Paris


had dropped 126.66, or 2%, to 6238.24, while Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

was 105.10 lower, or 1.4%, to 7411.85. Across the channel, London's


was off 136.0, or 2.1%, to 6397.4.

The euro was trading down at $0.9609.

Asian markets

dipped overnight on the latest wave of Nasdaq selloffs, but losses were milder than on Wall Street. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index slumped 363.1, or 2.2%, to 16,487.7, while South Korea's


slipped 15.12, or 1.7%, to 855.1. Tokyo's


drifted a modestly lower 96.54, or 0.5%, to 20,522.5, as buying in some technology and drug blue-chips mitigated its fall.

The dollar continued to rise against the yen overnight, moving to 106.94 yen at Tokyo's close. The greenback has managed to hold on to that strength and was lately sitting at 106.86 yen.

For a look at stocks in the preopen news, see Stocks to Watch, published separately.