(Updated from 2:33 p.m. ET)
For most of the day, Wall Street was uglier than bad plastic surgery as the
Dow Jones Industrial Average officially moved into bear territory. By the end of the day, though, the Dow ended with a loss of only 99 points.
The massive early stumble brought the Dow down past 9378.4, officially pegging this a bear market. Blue-chip investors have been dragged kicking and screaming into the same filthy gutter that holds the tech stocks.
Vicious swings on huge volumes typified this session. The selling was relentless until just before lunch, when the Dow began to rally and came off its lows. The only strength came from technology names like
as investors pulled money off the table.
For the second time in two weeks and the umpteenth time since the
Nasdaq Composite Index began falling in March of last year, many were calling for a market bottom. Time and a ton of buying are the only two things that'll prove yet another bottom call correct, but the signals of pain were quite clear. As mentioned earlier, volume was huge and losses steep -- two signs of
The Comp sat today's volatility out. At the close, it ended the day higher. This is like the youngest son getting a break from the strap because Dad's already doled out punishment. As many are painfully aware of, the Comp has fallen more than 70% since hitting last year's highs, so sitting out this selloff gave a breather to one of the most damaged areas -- semiconductors.
Sure, the semiconductor market isn't expected to do very much this year. Earnings estimates on most of these companies are relatively flat, but investors have jumped back in hoping that the news couldn't possibly get any worse. And since many market experts expect semiconductors to be the first tech sector to rally and show improvement when the economy picks up, many were getting in early. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
rose 8.3% today.
Intel and rival
Advanced Micro Devices
gained 8.6% and 9.4%, respectively.
As the chips rebound, many other tech sectors were passing on the right, dropping fast. The biotechs got another shovelful of dirt thrown on them, with the
American Stock Exchange Biotechnology Index
stumbling4.9%. Even worse, the riskier members of the
Nasdaq Biotechnology Index