Thank goodness the trading day is over!
In addition to uncertainty about Tuesday's presidential election, investors had to contend with a reduced revenue forecast from PC giant
, which sent shivers through the marketplace.
Warm and fuzzy feelings were few and far between today. Both the
Dow Jones Industrial Average and the
Nasdaq Composite Index -- which hit a fresh 52-week low today --closed with steep triple-digit losses.
For the fourth straight day, the Nasdaq -- down 12% for the week -- finished behind. The technology-laden index closed just above the 3000 level. The last time it dropped below that point was November 1999. The index is now nearly 40% off its March highs and down about 25% for the year.
The Dow, which also closed down for the fourth day in a row, is now down about 7.5% for the year.
Last night, Dell Computers stated earnings of 25 cents a share, in line with Wall Street's expectations. But the company warned that it saw its sales growing just 20% in the next fiscal year. That news followed a slew of disappointments from the PC-manufacturer. (
covered Dell's latest warning in separate
Predictably, Dell's announcement triggered research analysts to downgrade the company's stock.
lowered its rating on Dell to neutral from outperform, while
Credit Suisse First Boston
reduced its 12-month price target for the company.
The most active stock on the
Nasdaq Composite Index, Dell tanked 18.9%.
Dell's woes spread to other names within the computer industry. Shares of
fell 5.2%, while
dropped 6.5%. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
was recently down 8.8%.
The semiconductor industry, the success of which depends on the demand for computers, felt Dell's pain today. At last look, the
Philadephia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
ended off 6.6%. Shares of Intel, which were downgraded to neutral from outperform at
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
, plunged 10.6%. Fellow chipmaker
decreased 7.9%, while
, closed lower by 4.9%, and
, which closed down 8.9%, also fell in sympathy.
In fact, only six of the 30 blue chip stocks contributed to the Dow's upside at the close. Included in that small club were
Procter & Gamble
, which closed up 3.1%,
Johnson & Johnson
, which closed up 0.9%, and
, which finished higher by 1.2%.
On the heels of disappointing earnings news from
, retail stocks sank. The
S&P Retail Index
closed off 4.9%. Shares of
decreased 7.3%, while
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Defensive industries were about the only ones to see some upside today. The
American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index
gained 0.4% and the
Amex Tobacco Index
Financial stocks suffered in today's selloff. The
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
closed down 3.6%.
was down sharply for the third day in a row, closing off by 5.4%, while
closed off 3.8%.
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Bonds were marginally firmer today, with recent economic data providing a supportive environment and concerns about the equities markets encouraging a move to safety. Nervous equity markets are likely to drive the bond market.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note was lately up 1/32 to 99 22/32, to yield 5.793%.
No market-moving economic data came out today.
Consumer Sentiment Index
chart ) for November came out at 10 a.m., revealing that consumer sentiment rose to 107.7 vs. expectations of 105.5.
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