If the market were a children's book, it'd have to be named
The Little Engine That Sucks
. An early, brief (very brief) bounce gave way to more broad selling pressure. Yesterday's earnings warning from
has computer makers under pressure. Semiconductors are dying on the vine after a sharp selloff in
shares following that company's positive earnings release.
Nasdaq Composite Index and
Dow Jones Industrial Average spent minimal amount of time in the green this morning before both slipped into the red. Lately, however, they've come off their lows, as a number of technology stocks, including
, have worked their way back near unchanged.
If the parade of earnings warnings from high-profile companies continues, that visit to the bottom could happen soon.
became the latest company to join the lineup of techs warning about a shortfall in earnings.
Dell was lately down 8.7% after saying last night that slower sales growth could dent profits. Other box makers were feeling the pain, with
sliding 5.5% and
Even the stocks with positive news are getting soaked. Take Micron Technology, which handily beat fourth-quarter estimates last night. Today
cut its price target and
lowered earnings estimates on the company. Investors are apparently considering the fact that spot DRAM (dynamic random access memory) prices, which Micron produces, fell sharply in September -- Micron's quarter ended in August.
stood by their ratings and price targets, but investors were only focusing on the bad news. Micron was lately off 10.7%, along with more modest weakness in the chip sector.
shares were whacked after the company disclosed that third-quarter subscriber growth was less than Wall Street expected. Lately the shares were sliding 10.6%.
The Dow was a mixed bag today with some defensive issues such as
Procter & Gamble
Johnson & Johnson
showing strength. The consumer products sector got a boost from an upgrade by
analyst Heather Murren on several bellwether stocks.
Retail stocks were near unchanged after several disappointing same-store sales reports from companies including
S&P Retail Index
was lately down 0.1%.
Oil and gas stocks were under pressure after a dip in oil prices when U.S. energy firms snapped up the national reserves offered by the government. The
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index
was down 1.3%, while the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
was off 1.8%.
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Treasuries are little changed on little news on the day before the release of the September
employment report, the most important economic report to roll around each month.
There are no major economic reports today, although the
Federal Open Market Committee just released the
minutes of its Aug. 22 meeting.
At its most recent meeting on Tuesday, the FOMC
cited the still-high level of labor-force utilization -- aka low unemployment rates -- as its main reason for maintaining its aggressive posture on interest rates.
The employment report will provide the latest readings on unemployment, with possible implications for monetary policy. In August, the regular unemployment rate stood at 4.1% and the
augmented unemployment rate -- the measure preferred by the Fed -- stood at 6.9%.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note lately was up 3/32 to 99, yielding 5.884%.