The Byrds were on to something when they sang that everything had a season. Today the market's turns and twists were resulting in a rise for some oft-beaten sectors while technology stocks endured more rough treatment. (OK, so the thought was originally from Ecclesiastes, but the Byrds sang it well.)
Nasdaq Composite Index
it was time to turn down, once again. The tech-laden index handed back another huge chunk of change today as the selling pressure continued after yesterday's 124-point dive, and was lately off 174, or 3.6%, to 4660.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was doing even worse, getting crushed to the tune of 70, or 5.8%, to 1147.
was a downside leader, off 5.9%.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
, meanwhile, was having trouble finding its way, lately swinging around break-even after surrendering most of its earlier gain.
"The Nasdaq Comp is undergoing a period of weakness across the board, from small-cap to large-cap stocks," said Gary Kaltbaum, chief technical analyst at
, a subsidiary of
in Orlando, Fla. "This is the most overdue pullback, or correction or whatever you want to call it, in the history of the world." Meanwhile, he continued, "I think you're still going to see better action in everything that was not working for the past six months."
Indeed, the market's usual whipping boys, including the retail and health-care sectors, were getting a lift. The
S&P Retail Index
was lately up 3%, while the
S&P Health Care Index
was up 1.7%. Dow component
was enjoying a 3.9% gain.
Kaltbaum mentioned other retailers, including
, as good rebound candidates. "The fundamentals were always good," he said. "They just went too far, too fast, and needed a rest."
Transports and oil stocks were still showing some fire a day after nine out of 10
ministers agreed to increase quotas by 1.452 million barrels a day. Like the holdout dentist who won't recommend
Trident to his patients, Iran dissented and did not agree to the new accord. Iran's decision and tensions in OPEC over U.S. pressure for the increase hardly damped the enthusiastic response to the news. And today, Iran's state television said Tehran would continue to cooperate with OPEC despite the rift.
Crude oil futures fell on the New York Mercantile Exchange today, with the front-month contract lately at $26.21. Oil-related stocks were looking strong, with the
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index
up 4% and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
was moving up 1 3/8 to 80 3/8.
Dow Jones Transportation Average
had been cruising earlier but lately was off 0.2%. The
American Stock Exchange Airline Index
was losing some ground as well, down 1% after yesterday's highflying 5.4% jump.
Biotechs were getting slammed, with the
American Stock Exchange Biotech Index
down 5.4% and the
Nasdaq Biotechnology Index
off 4.7%. The wild and woolly indices are now more than 30% off the heady highs they reached in early March.
Tobacco stocks were lower after the latest legal slam came from Kentucky, where a jury ordered chewing tobacco maker
to pay $350 million in damages to its rival
in a federal antitrust suit. The judgement comes close on the heels of news on Monday that a California jury awarded a dying smoker $20 million in damages from
. UST was lately getting pinched 2 5/8, or 13.2%, to 16 13/16.
was down 7, or 0.4%, to 1501, while the small-cap
was down 16, or 2.9%, to 543.
In the bond market, the 10-year Treasury was unchanged at 102 17/32, its yield at 6.15%, while the 30-year Treasury was up 2/32 to 103 28/32, its yield at 5.97%.
Breadth was barely positive on the Big Board but negative on the Nasdaq on moderate volume.
New York Stock Exchange:
1,410 advancers, 1,407 decliners, 590 million shares. 35 new 52-week highs, 43 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market:
1,149 advancers, 2,930 decliners, 1 billion shares. 44 new highs, 96 new lows.
For a look at stocks in the midsession news, see Midday Movers, published separately.