Sludge on Wall Street couldn't be avoided after the sun hit the weekend's snowfall.
Dow Jones Industrial Average and the
Nasdaq Composite Index ended in a muddle but off session lows.
Last week, the market seemed to pay little attention to earnings news -- good or bad -- but today, investors gave earnings announcements a closer look and acted accordingly.
earnings warning made it today's spoilsport. The stock was down 0.5% to $25.50. The stock sent its sector downward, with the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
, 2.8% lower.
Investors were out ready to reward and punish stand-out stocks.
The shining star today was biotech
, which was the winner of a patent infringement case against
. Amgen was popping 12.4% to $67.50, and, egads, Transkaryotic was plunging 36.4% to $21.63 in recent trading.
The lately battered retail sector was getting a nice bounce today thanks to a positive note from
, which upgraded several retailers and added a few to its U.S. recommended for purchase list. The list included mall-staple
, king of reinvention
and Old Economy retailer and major appliance-pusher
. The aforementioned were all jumping lately.
The good news was also helping blue-chips
The Home Depot
. Last week, Home Depot added pressure to the sector by
warning that it would miss estimates. The news pushed down Home Depot and Wal-Mart, so today they were recovering some of those losses.
Another to get a gold star was
, which said its active subscriber base grew 8% to 4 million in December from 3.7 million in September. The Internet service provider was up 30.8% to $4.25.
Also in the Internet realm, newly merged
AOL Time Warner
was lately the most active on the
New York Stock Exchange
after it got a nice upgrade from
J.P. Morgan H&Q
to buy from long-term buy. The stock was up 0.4% to $54.01.
Big caps were being disciplined today, thanks to Dell. Those suffering included
Other Dow components getting hurt by Dell's news were
. H-P was lately down 4.4% to $34.19, while IBM was off 2.2% to $108.81.
posted fourth-quarter earnings in line with estimates, but Wall Street wanted more. Lately, the stock was 7.7% lower to $44.88.
It's probably been a long time since you've heard the words "initial public offering" not in conjunction with the words "unfavorable market conditions," so guess what? There are three diverse stocks making their debut on the Nasdaq and becoming the first IPOs of the year. They are:
, which makes a see-through, removable alternative to braces for teeth, coffee retailer
Peets Coffee & Tea
, a biotech firm.
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news was giving the
Nasdaq Biotechnology Index
a boost. In recent trading, the sector was jumping 4.9% to 1016.6.
Dow Jones Transportation Average
was driven up 0.6% to 2970.39 with help from trucking company
and speedy delivery company
S&P Insurance Index
was hopping 2.4%. Component
(can you say that without squawking?) was lifted by upgrades to strong buy from
Banc of America Securities
. Aflac was flying 5.3% higher to $59.75.
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Treasuries are trading lower, though the market's weakness is much more so among longer maturing securities. Traders have been shifting investments toward shorter-term notes in the hope of a half-percentage point cut in interest rates. Analysts are also awaiting Chairman
Alan Greenspan's address to the
Senate Finance Committee
later this week in which he is very likely to hint of the
Federal Reserve's current strategy and elaborate on critical economic issues. Some more data released this morning confirms the slowdown in the economy.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note lately was down 13/32 to 103 29/32, raising its yield to 5.225%.
In economic news, the
index of leading economic indicators
) fell 0.6% in December, compared to a 0.4% decrease in November. Analysts attributed the continued drop to a rise in company layoffs, declining consumer confidence and reduced working hours in the manufacturing sector.
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