Market Update: Dow Trims Losses, Nasdaq Breaks Into Green at Midafternoon - TheStreet

The mood on Wall Street was matching the gray, rainy weather.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average has been miserable all day. Earlier in the session, it fell 400 points and well below the psychologically important 10,000 level. The index bounced off its lows, but was still lately deep in negative territory.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

was the Dow's deadweight today, lately weighing it down by more than 105 points. Yesterday after the close, the company posted earnings that beat estimates, but revenue on the low end of expectations. Big Blue also gave cautious words for its fourth quarter.

TheStreet.com

covered

the announcement more in-depth in an earlier story.

This morning IBM was hit by negative notes from

Merrill Lynch

and

Bear Stearns

, which lowered their earnings estimates.

Prudential Securities

cut its rating on the company to hold from accumulate and

Goldman Sachs

removed IBM from its recommended list. The company lately lost 15.2% to $95.81.

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

were also putting drag on the index, each shaving about 25 points.

H-P was down in sympathy with IBM's troubles, but J.P. Morgan sank on merger partner

Chase Manhattan's

(CMB)

report of lower-than-expected earnings. The company partly blamed losses on the Nasdaq, which hurt

results at its venture capital arm. Chase was lately off 1% to $37.56. J.P. Morgan actually reported earnings that beat estimates. It was down 1.2% to $136.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index has been up and down over the break-even line since midmorning. It was lately looking to jump back over to the upside.

Comp heavyweight

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

bounced higher after it

inadvertently posted its earnings early on its Web site. The earnings were well above estimates.

Meanwhile, IBM's trouble was spreading to pretty much all of tech -- except for the semiconductors, which were bolstered by

Intel's

(INTC) - Get Report

earnings, above its revised expectations (revised lower, in case you forgot). Though several other analysts came out with downgrades on the company, Intel was upgraded by

ABN Amro

.

Also on the Comp,

RF Micro Devices

(RFMD)

was down 34.2% after it reported earnings in line with expectations, but warned about earnings for its next quarter. The stock was downgraded by

Credit Suisse First Boston

and

CIBC World Markets

.

Sector Watch

Paper stocks and retailers were rallying, while just about everything else has been suffering.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Products Index

was up 3.9% and the

S&P Retail Index

rose 2.0%.

Drugs, traditional defensive stocks and stocks that have been reporting strong earnings, might have been getting more investor love. But they weren't. Some analysts were blaming Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, who was tough on the drug companies again last night. The

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

was down 1.1%.

The

American Stock Exchange Airline Index

was down 2.7%.

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

and

Alaska Air

(ALK) - Get Report

both reported lower earnings, while

Southwest

(LUV) - Get Report

posted earnings that beat estimates. Today, they were all on the downside. Also, Alaska saw its 2000 EPS view cut by

Goldman Sachs

.

TheStreet.com E-Finance Index

was down 2.9%, suffering right along with the broker/dealer and bank sectors.

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Bonds/Economy

The bond market is rallying strongly as funds move into safer investments following ongoing signs of weakness in equity markets.

The market was relatively unconcerned by today's

Consumer Price Index

(

definition |

chart |

source

) for September which showed a 0.5% rise in the headline number and a 0.3% increase in the core rate. Energy prices rose 3.8% in the latest month, a big turnaround from August's 2.9% drop. On an annual basis, CPI is now running at a 3.8% rate, well ahead of last year's 2.7% increase.

After the CPI data, the market rallied sharply, with the benchmark 10-year

Treasury note at 100 23/32, up 7/32 to yield 5.655%. The bond market is clearly much more concerned with the weak performance of the stock market and its implications for lower interest rates than it is with the growing signs of inflationary pressure in the economy.

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