Bottom-fishers are out in droves this morning, casting their lines for technology and financial stocks. But market-watchers can only wonder: How much longer will they angle in these murky waters?
Dow Jones Industrial Average -- which finished down 317 points yesterday to close below 10,000 for the first time in five months -- was lately off its highs for the session, but still ahead nearly 70 points. The stuffed-with-tech
Nasdaq Composite Index -- which yesterday finished below 2000 -- was swinging back with about 50 points of its own.
Shares of financial stocks, dragged lower by yesterday's news that international credit rating agency
had put 19 Japanese banks on a negative review, were trading higher today. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/ KBW Bank Index
was moving ahead 2.2%.
tacked on 3.3% to $46.38, while
J.P. Morgan Chase
rose 3.3% to $45.18.
Good news from one of the supposed protagonists of yesterday's selloff,
, helped lift tech stocks. This morning, the cell phone maker, recently up a whopping 14.5% to $24.95, cut its first-quarter handset sales projections to between 450 million to 500 million units from previously lowered targets of more than 500 million units. But the company kept its earnings targets intact and said profit margins would be up. Conflicting rumors about the company have emerged in the past few weeks, but yesterday the buzz was decidedly negative and helped send overseas markets lower.
Shortly after Nokia "warned" this morning, European indices reversed course to move into the green. The major indices in Europe continue to post middling gains: the
was lately up 42 points, or 0.7%, to 5668. Germany's
was 53 higher, or 0.9%, to 5847. And Paris'
was rising 42, or 0.8%, to 5668.
There were significant gains to be found among optical stocks.
was soaring 5.3% to $60.25,
was advancing 5.3% to $25.88 and
boosted 9.4% to $58.38. As tech valuations have been ratcheted down in recent months, this basket of one-time highflying stocks has been especially hard hit.
Negative news out this morning has done little to keep stocks down. J.P. Morgan cut its estimates and price targets on storage company
. It was gaining 4.96% to $37.01. Elsewhere,
cut its estimates and price target on burger titan
, recently off 2.8% to $26.76. And
was rising 4.7% to $15.31 after it cancelled the
initial public offering for its international unit.
Asia managed to rebound overnight. After swinging in a 700-point range, Tokyo's
surged to close up 2.6% at 12,152.8. Market pundits speculated the Asian recovery overnight might have been driven by news that Japanese bank
doubled its loan-loss provisions in response to growing fears about loan defaults, as well as by reports that the Japanese government might set up a fund to cover investor losses. On Wednesday, ongoing concerns about Japan's staggering economy and stock market were exacerbated by news that a credit rating agency,
, put 19 Japanese banks on credit review and that the
Bank of Japan
was in emergency talks with two banks believed to be on the verge of bankruptcy. The Nikkei fell to a 16-year low early this week. Hong Kong also recouped recent losses, and the
closed 1.2% higher to 13,504.2.
Another chip for the bulls this morning:
Expectations are growing that the
Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by 75 basis points instead of only half a percentage point when it meets Tuesday.
Yesterday's release of the January
business inventories helped bolster that theory. The report showed inventories for the month were way above economist expectations with a 0.4% rise -- a sign that inventories continue to grow sharply and demand continues to stumble. Rising inventories have been named as a key concern for the slowing economy, and the steeper the slowdown, the more the Fed will likely be encouraged to cut rates to help get the economy back on its feet. Inventories for December were revised higher -- to unchanged from initial estimates of a 0.1% drop.