Market Drops Sharply, with All Indices Down More Than 1%

Publish date:

Opportunists came out in force to jump on profits from last week's big run-up in stocks, sapping the each of the major indices of more than 1% as the light-volume Thanksgiving week oozed to a start.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

, up more than 308 points last week, today shed 113.15, or 1.4%, to 7767.92 as the collapse and closing of Japan's

Yamaichi Securities

provided a catalyst for sellers looking to leap. "I think that was a lot of it," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at

Interstate/Johnson Lane

in Atlanta. "People will look for a reason to take profits. I personally am looking for it to go down more. I can't get out of my stocks at the prices I want. I've just got to wonder, whose bid am I going to hit?"

Alan Ackerman, market strategist at


, called the Yamaichi failure "directly responsible for pressure not only on the U.S. market but European markets as well. People have begun to extrapolate what this might mean if other broker-dealers in Japan take a hit and the contagion in Japan spreads elsewhere." The December futures on the

Nikkei 225

bode ill, down 105 to 16,210 -- worse than the cash close of 16,721.60.

The Dow was hardly alone among major U.S. indices in the loss column. The broad

S&P 500

tumbled 16.42, or 1.7%, to 946.67, and the December S&P 500 futures lost 20.00 to 949.80. The tech-albatrossed

Nasdaq Composite Index

plunged 33.76, or 2.1%, to 1586.99, as the prospect of


(DELL) - Get Report

post-close earnings report offered no solace. (After the close, Dell reported third-quarter earnings of 69 cents per share, 4 cents better than the 34-analyst

First Call

consensus estimate, up from the year-ago 39 cents and 2 cents ahead of the Wall Street "whisper number.") The small-cap

Russell 2000

gave up 7.22, or 1.7%, to 427.83.

Market internals no doubt cheered the short side, with

New York Stock Exchange

decliners pummeling advancers 2,146 to 755 on a moderate 538.9 million shares. New Big Board highs outpaced new lows by 98 to 48. On the Nasdaq, 3,234 decliners swamped 1,355 advancers on 576.2 million shares. New Nasdaq lows beat new highs by 148 to 76.

IJL's Myers said he saw signs of neither panic nor optimism in today's trading. "I did not see any type of sky-is-falling, Chicken Little syndrome, but stocks are going in one direction," he said. "And if there's no news overnight that says 'hey, equities are great,' I bet it'll be another down day tomorrow."

Paul Rabbitt, executive director of equity strategy at

CIBC Oppenheimer

, said in a research note that he expects an overall positive tone to this holiday-shortened week's trading. But he offered some caveats as well: "Stocks are becoming somewhat extended and could use some time to re-gather strength in order to overcome old resistance highs. A few weeks of consolidation are in order. The long bond is getting a little 'stretched,' suggesting traders should take trading profits." The bellwether 30-year Treasury bond today lost 16/32 to 100 23/32 in price, its yield rising to 6.07%.

Monday's market action

(earnings estimates from First Call):



leapt 5 5/16, or 13.9%, to an all-time high of 43 7/16 after


(WMB) - Get Report

agreed to buy the company in a $2.7 billion stock swap. Williams, which said it expects the deal to add 10% to 15% to its earnings, fell 1 5/8 to 53 13/16.

General Host

(GH) - Get Report

soared 1 7/8, or 54.6%, to an all-time high of 5 5/16 after private investment fund

Cypress Group

agreed to buy the company for about $320 million in cash and debt assumption.

VLSI Technology


splatted 6 15/16, or 23.1%, to 23 1/8 after

Hambrecht & Quist

cut its 1998 earnings estimate to $1.90 per share from $1.97. The 11-analyst view calls for $1.86 versus an estimated $1.32 in 1997 and an actual 47 cents in 1996.

Florida East Coast Industries


whistled down 17 1/2, or 15.8%, to 93 after

St. Joe


late Friday dropped its $102-per-share bid for the company. St. Joe edged up 1/4 to 94.

Martin Industries


bounded 1 3/16, or 23.8%, to 6 3/16 after the newsletter

Fidelity Independent Adviser

-- which has nothing to do with

Fidelity Investments

of mutual-fund fame -- rated the company a strong aggressive buy and set a price target of 7.



crunched down 3 1/4, or 19.1%, to 13 7/8 after warning that it expects to report second-quarter earnings of 10 cents to 14 cents per share. The three-analyst expectation called for 20 cents versus the year-earlier 15 cents.

Dell lost 3 1/2 to 79 3/4 ahead of its earnings report, and most of the rest of the PC industry joined the downward trip.



lost 3 11/16 to 60,

Gateway 2000


lost 1 1/4 to 27 3/4,



lost 1 13/16 to 61 13/16 and


(IBM) - Get Report

lost 2 7/16 to 103 1/8.

Micron Electronics


, which was battered

Friday on an earnings warning, bounced back 5/16 to 11 13/16.

Big banks also suffered an ugly day on Asian jitters and the bond-market selloff.


(CCI) - Get Report

fell 4 13/16 to 122 1/16,



fell 3 5/16 to 110,


(BAC) - Get Report

fell 2 1/4 to 73 and Dow component

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

fell 2 13/16 to 112 15/16.

As noted in today's

Midday Musings,

Bay Networks


bucked a negative trend in networking. The stock rose 9/16 to 29 5/8 after

BancAmerica Robertson Stephens

upped it to buy from long-term attractive. Elsewhere,



lost 5/8 to 24 3/4,


(CSCO) - Get Report

lost 1 13/16 to 83 1/4 and


(ASND) - Get Report

lost 5/8 to 24 3/4.



declined 7/8 to 47 1/4 after offering about $1.8 billion in cash for

Allied Colloids

of the U.K. Allied wasted little time in rejecting the bid as "unwelcome and unsolicited." Stay tuned.

American HomePatient


plunged 3 5/8, or 15.9%, to 19 5/8, with the company citing a misunderstanding of a mention in its 10Q that federal auditors asked for some information. American HomePatient reportedly said the disclosure was just a conservative measure, and the inquiry is "not an active audit in any way."


(ITT) - Get Report


Starwood Lodging Trust


slipped 7/8 to 52 9/16 after agreeing to pay $118 million for the

Westin Mission Hills Resort

in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The resort's current owner,



TLS Partnership

, will remain a minority partner.

Firstplus Financial Group


dropped 5 3/8, or 11.5%, to 41 1/2 after filing a shelf offering for $400 million worth of securities.



advanced 3 3/4, or 9.8%, to 41 7/8 after reporting third-quarter earnings of 50 cents per share. That beat the 17-analyst estimate by a nickel and topped the year-earlier 42 cents.

Merrill Lynch

upgraded the stock to near-term buy from accumulate, maintaining a long-term buy.



was one of the larger point-losers on the Nasdaq, down 4 7/8, or 8.1%, to 55 13/16.

took a look at the fallout swirling around the high-flying biotech stock in a

story today.

Federal Signal

(FSS) - Get Report

gave up 1 7/16 to a 52-week low of 22 1/2 after warning late

Friday that it expects to report disappointing fourth-quarter earnings.

Everen Securities

lowered the stock to long-term market perform from outperform, retaining a near-term market perform, and

Dain Bosworth

cut it to underperform from neutral.


(KMB) - Get Report

was down 3 7/16 to 50 5/16 after late

Friday announcing a broad restructuring plan.

Bear Stearns

upgraded the stock to attractive from neutral.



rose 2 to an all-time high of 41 7/16 after a venture group agreed to buy it for $44 per share.



added 2 1/8 to 42 13/16 on news that it may receive $1 billion worth of assets from



in exchange for boosting TCI's stake in HSN to 25%. TCI lost 5/16 to 22 1/16.



improved 1 3/8 to 22 5/8 after reporting second-quarter earnings of 19 cents per share, 2 cents better than the four-analyst forecast and up from the year-ago 13 cents.

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

skidded 2 3/4 to 50 after

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

initiated coverage at neutral.



hopped 1 9/16 to 22 15/16 on a bullish story in this weekend's


. But


also taketh away: Cigar stocks suffered after a story in the weekly said the stogie fad "is likely to fizzle."

800-JR Cigar


lost 2 1/8 to 26 7/8,

General Cigar


lost 1 15/16 to 25 and

Consolidated Cigar

(CIG) - Get Report

lost 1 1/4 to 31.

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

surrendered 2 3/16 to 65 3/4 after late

Friday offering a 1998 growth forecast.



gained 3/4 to 22 7/8 after reporting first-quarter earnings of 32 cents per share, 4 cents better than the three-analyst outlook and up from the year-ago 20 cents.