A combination of triple-witching, the quarterly expiration of index options, index futures and equity options and a lower-than-expected Consumer Price Index number had markets looking freaked heading into the afternoon. After a mixed open, both the Nasdaq Composite Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average have sunk into the red and breadth is positively putrid.
The Dow opened strong and has slipped since. On the positive side,
was the brightest blue-chip, lately up 4.2% to $89, an all-time high. However, two-thirds of the industrials are in the red today. Tech and financial components are weighing down the average, lately off 17 to 11,071. The
S&P 500 was down 6 to 1475.
On the Comp, it's been bad all day. Investors are playing the "buy the rumor, sell the news" game with
. Having run that stock up prior to its earnings release yesterday, Oracle was weighing down the Nasdaq, lately off 4.6% to $81. Oracle's operating margins may look good, but as
Joe Bousquin reported, investors are thinking about future demand and reacting negatively to slow software sales. The Comp was down 52 to 3862.
Other big-cap tech names were following Oracle.
was last off 2.5% while
Internet plays were weaker, while small-caps coughed up yesterday's gain. The
Russell 2000 was last off 5 to 534.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index continues to have a terrible September, and year for that matter, dropping 11 to 809.
The quarterly expiration of index options, index futures and equity options generally causes some volatility in the afternoon. Also,
Standard & Poor's
is rebalancing its indices, and that should also cause some gyrations in the market.
Oil stocks continue to be red-hot. The
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index
hit another record high this morning, but was lately up 3.9%. ExxonMobil,
all helped the index power out more gains as crude oil futures continue to rise. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
October crude oil futures on the
New York Mercantile Exchange
were last up $1.16 to $35.23.
On the downside, the
Amex Broker/Dealer Index
The 10-year Treasury note was lately off 14/32 at 99 7/32, and yielding 5.85%.
Yesterday, an early rally in the bond market after a surprisingly friendly reading on inflation at the wholesale level, morphed into a selloff that moved the 30-year bond's yield decisively higher than the 10-year note's yield for the first time since January. The selloff came amid shifting views on monetary policy and heavy issuance of corporate bonds.
wrote a separate article on the steepening