Publish date:

Market Update: Dow, Nasdaq Both Post Triple-Digit Losses

<LI>Brokerages end lower.</LI> <LI>Oracle, Dell have rough day.</LI> <LI>ExxonMobil, Chevron trade higher as oil soars.</LI>

(Updated from 3:20 p.m. EDT)

The major indices continued to pull back this afternoon trading after accelerating into the red all morning. But, breadth was bad and most stocks ended solidly in the red.

None of the news on Wall Street today was enough to counter growing worries that a slowing economy, a depressed euro and high-flying oil prices are diluting corporate profits. Last week, those worries took the

S&P 500 down 1.93% on the week, while the

Nasdaq Composite Index and

Dow Jones Industrial Average had erased all but the entirety of their spirited August gains.

Today, the Dow looked pretty haggard all around, but

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

was again one of the biggest drags. It slashed about 46 points from the blue-chip benchmark. J.P. Morgan has been falling since the news of its takeover by

Chase Manhattan

(CMB)

. J.P. Morgan ended down 5.2%, while the Dow ended off 118 to 10,808.

After a meager early bounce in early trading today, the Nasdaq shot southward, ending off 109 to 3727. Big bellwether tech stocks, like

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

all helped to dig the Nasdaq's grave.

Microsoft holds its meeting with analysts this afternoon. Despite

Goldman Sachs'

influential analyst, Rick Sherlund's, reiteration of his market outperform rating on the company this morning and insistence that the company remains comfortable with Goldman's earnings estimates, Microsoft was off 1.9%.

Oracle was off 2.4%, and Dell was down 3.7%.

Even those stocks that braved Friday's selloff were whacked today, including

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

and

Nortel Networks

(NT)

.

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

, however, bounced 5.4% on bullish Wall Street comments. It was also one of the Nasdaq's most actives.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was 21 lower to 1445, the

Russell 2000

fell 14 to 517 and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was 31 lower to 772.

Elsewhere in the market,

Gillette

(G) - Get Report

dropped 8% after it warned that third-quarter results would be up only slightly from the year-ago report. This morning,

Edward Jones

sliced its rating on the consumer giant to hold from a buy.

TST Recommends

And

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

was losing 1.7% after

British Telecom

(BTY)

confirmed the two companies are negotiating merging some of their business. British Telecom was popping 1.2%.

Back to top

Sector Watch

Brokerage stocks continued their precipitous slide today. The group has been on a tear since early last week, following a huge run-up that was sparked by merger mania in the financial sector.

The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was lately off 4.7%.

Lehman Brothers

(LEH)

, which has been tagged as a possible takeover target, was losing 6.4%, while

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

was stumbling 6.3%. Lehman and

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

report earnings later this week.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index

was falling 0.9%, after trading lower Friday. Micron

(MU) - Get Report

was bouncing 1.2% on an upgrade from Lehman Brothers.

The

American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

hit a new all-time high of 557.54, with gains from

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

Chevron

(CHV)

. The group continues to be pushed higher along with rising oil prices. It was lately up 0.9%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Services Index

was down however, off 4%, with

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

down 3.8%.

Back to top

Bonds/Economy

The disinversion of the Treasury yield curve was continuing. The 30-year Treasury bond's yield is now higher than the five-year note's for the first time since January.

This is happening because Treasury prices are mixed. Long-maturity issues are lower in price, causing their yields to rise relative to those of the short-maturity issues, which are little changed.

This continues a trend that emerged last week based on two key assumptions: first, that the

Fed is through hiking interest rates, and may even cut the

fed funds rate in the next several months if rising energy prices cause economic growth to slow too much. Investors typically push up long-term yields relative to short-term ones when they expect the Fed to take action to stimulate economic growth.

Second, Election Day could spell the end of the policy of using federal government surplus funds to pay down the national debt by buying back mainly long-maturity Treasuries from investors, which inflates their value relative to shorter-term Treasuries.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note lately was down 5/32 at 99 3/32, making its yield 5.873%.

Back to top