The bloody red that was spread all over the screen earlier in the session receded a little during the end of today's session, but the Dow still ended off more than 100 points.
The major indices were still smarting over what
Alan Greenspan didn't
say yesterday when he
spoke before the
Senate Banking Committee
. While all was not forgotten, they were at least starting to forgive.
On Tuesday, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average and the
Nasdaq Composite Index dropped on the lack of urgency in Greenspan's testimony. Today, they continued to get hurt, but the Nasdaq, at least, ended in the green.
Although it ended off its lows, the Dow still posted a triple-digit losses, which when added with yesterday's losses, wiped out the 165 point-gain it made on Monday. Only five of its 30 components were on the upside, including the tech triumvirate of
had been down earlier, but turned up slightly.
The software behemoth was suffering earlier in the day after a leadership
shakeup and news of a probe by the
into its $135 million investment in
, which publishes WordPerfect word-processing software. Regulators are investigating whether the alliance threatens competition in the office software market.
The biggest drag on the Dow was diversified manufacturer
, which has been making steady gains, for the most part, since the beginning of the month. The maker of Scotch tape and Post-It notes looks like it was the victim of some profit-taking, off 2.8% to $110.97.
And while tech seemed to be leading the way in today's trading, there has been no real leadership in the market in the past several weeks. More and more people are saying that the market's simply going to drift until the second half of the year, when the rate cuts will start to be felt. Even more, the market is waiting for consumer sentiment and confidence to improve, which will bring investors and money back.
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq was back in positive territory after a fairly volatile morning.
was the most actively traded stock on the Comp. It's had an up and down day, too. It ended 7.1% higher to $41.25 lately. The fiber-optics component supplier, which completed its merger with former rival
, warned yesterday after the close that its third-quarter earnings would miss estimates, citing uncertainty in capital spending plans by telecom carriers and customer inventory adjustments.
The news still hurt related optical stocks, though, with
on the downside.
And non-tech company
fell 43.4% to $20 after the women's clothing retailer cut its fourth-quarter earnings estimates to between 4 cents and 7 cents a share because of sales shortfalls. The
First Call/Thomson Financial
seven-analyst estimate for the quarter was 66 cents.
There were some bright spots on the index, though, including
, which announced
better-than-expected earnings after Tuesday's close. It was up 16.6%. The news helped competitor
, which was up 11% to $76.81.
Also on the upside was
, which was getting some lift off of its good earnings announcement after yesterday's close.
upped the company to a long-term buy from market performer on the announcement. Still, the company offered up a dim outlook for the future, sparking a stream of EPS cuts. The stock was up 13.5% to $46.81.
Elsewhere, on the
New York Stock Exchange,
got flattened 19.5% to $20.01 after it announced that it had to
lower its earnings estimates because of higher energy costs and the slowing economy.
Semis were bouncing today, with help from the aforementioned Applied Materials. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
was up 7.8%. Component
, up 7.3% to $51.25, announced that it would expand its Irish unit, creating 500 new jobs.
Another factor helping the sector was the note from J.P. Morgan, which raised not only Applied Materials to long-term buy from market performer, but also
Varian Semiconductor Equipment
Also getting in on the action were computer hardware makers. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
gained 3.3%, with much help coming from
, up 12.1%, and
, 6.2% higher.
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Treasury prices are mixed. The market has little to respond to until more-relevant economic data is released at the end of the week. Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan's Senate testimony yesterday was less aggressive in the context of interest rates than traders had wanted. Although Greenspan discussed the fragile economy and even suggested that a recovery might not gather pace until much later this year, he also hinted that the fundamentals were properly configured for now to help the revival.
poll of 25 Wall Street bond dealers shows that the majority expect a half-point cut in the
fed funds rate at the next
Federal Open Market Committee meeting on March 20.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note lately was down 15/32 to 99, raising its yield to 5.129%.
In economic news,
) rose by 0.1% for the month of December, down from 0.3% in the previous month. The growth was .1% less than economists had predicted and the smallest rise seen since January 1999. The trend confirms Greenspan's observations yesterday that information technology is enabling companies to better balance their stock of goods when faced with fluctuating demand. The year-to-year rise in the number also dropped to 6.1% from 6.6%; it's now at its lowest level since May.
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