Market Update: Nasdaq Dips as Dow Slips - TheStreet

Market Update: Nasdaq Dips as Dow Slips

<LI>Apple's earnings warning drags other computer makers down with it.</LI> <LI>Circuit City drops after another earnings warning.</LI>
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There might have been a bit too much

exuberance in the market yesterday because today the

Nasdaq and the

Dow were pulling back.

The Nasdaq had been volatile all morning, trying to gain a foothold in positive territory. Alas, it wasn't to be. The tech-heavy index on Tuesday boasted its single-largest point and percentage gain in its 29-year history.

Some of the big cap stocks that benefited from the bounce yesterday were weighing down today. Chip maker

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, computer maker

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

and software giant

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

were a few of the big names putting pressure on the Nasdaq.

A

warning about earnings from computer maker

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

last night helped to dizzy tech investors, reminding them why the Nasdaq was down so low in the first place. It was just last week, after all, that the Nasdaq hit a new 52-week low.

Apple said it expects to miss its fiscal first-quarter sales and earnings targets. Really miss them. The maker of colorful computers was one of the first high-profile tech companies -- back in September -- to warn it would

miss fourth-quarter earnings targets. That earlier warning helped spark initial investor concerns about slowing computer demand, a concern that has shredded computer makers in the past few months.

Analysts swung into action to lower Apple and other computer makers. These companies were generally getting socked.

Still, heavyweights

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

,

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

and

Applied Micro Circuits

(AMCC)

were working to keep the fighting spirit alive.

The blue-chip Dow was lately dropping on weakness in what were yesterday's winning tech components --

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

.

But

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

, the bank that is about to merge with

Chase

(CMB)

, was holding onto the lift it got yesterday after

Fed head

Greenspan's made comments that indicated the Fed may cut interest rates sometime soon.

The Street.com

took a separate look at

Big Al's speech yesterday.

Elsewhere on the

Big Board, electronics retailer

Circuit City

(CC) - Get Report

was also taking it on the chin after Lehman lowered its fourth quarter, full year and 2001 earnings targets on the company due to weakening sales after the Thanksgiving holiday. Circuit City earlier today issued

its latest earnings warning. Retail stocks everywhere have been battered lately on concerns that a slowing economy will make consumers more frugal, reducing holiday sales' traditional strength. Circuit City was falling 23.5% and

S&P Retail Index

was falling 1.6%.

TheStreet.com's

retail writer, Katherine Hobson, earlier today took a look at Amazon.com's bet on sales of

consumer electronics and what it says about the e-tailer.

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Sector Watch

Defensive stocks were mixed today, with drug, tobacco and consumer companies lower, while gold and commodity-related sectors were climbing. Drugs and tobacco are expected to find favor if there is a Bush administration. But because there's still no resolution to the election, companies in these sectors don't have a lot to motivate them.

The

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

was falling 2.5% and the

American Stock Exchange Tobacco Index

was down 1.7%.

The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index was edging up 1.2% and the Morgan Stanley Commodity Related Equity Index was moving up 0.7%.

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Bonds/Economy

Treasuries are getting a lift from the downturn in stock prices. The rally is pushing yields down to new lows for the year.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note lately was up 12/32 at 102 25/32, dropping its yield to 5.377%.

Falling stock prices increase the appeal of bonds as an alternative investment and indicate waning confidence in the economy, calling for lower interest rates and higher bond prices.

Treasuries yesterday staged a huge rally in response to remarks by Alan Greenspan, in which he acknowledged that the economy is at risk of slowing too much. Presumably, the Fed will lower interest rates in the next several months to keep that from happening.

Today's economic data, while not market-moving, is marginally negative for Treasuries. Mortgage activity increased, according to the

Mortgage Applications Survey

(

definition |

chart |

source

), forecasting increased consumer activity generally. And third-quarter

productivity and unit labor costs

(

definition |

chart |

source

) were revised lower and higher, respectively.

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