On the heels of yesterday's 436-point loss on the
Dow Jones Industrial Average, the index -- which flip-flopped all day long -- ended solidly to the good.
As investors rotated out of defensive stocks and into tech issues, shares of
Johnson & Johnson
were the biggest drags on the
But while every Dow stock closed down yesterday,
J.P. Morgan Chase
and others ended higher today.
Nasdaq Composite Index, which closed below 2000 yesterday for the first time since December 1998, ended near its highs for the session, and crossed back over the 2000 level. Groups on the upswing included the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
-- up 6.3%, the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
-- ahead 5.2%, and
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index -- higher by 5.6%.
Beware the Bounce of March!
In the face of today's tech gains, market gurus are advising that investors beware a sucker's rally (an early Ides of March, perhaps?), because there aren't any catalysts for a sustainable upturn. "We are way oversold here, but the problem with yesterday's selloff is that there was no real volume -- not enough to convince anyone we've seen a real bottom in here," said Ray Hawkins, vice president of block trading at
J.P. Morgan Chase
As if the headlines from
could get any worse. Just days after it set plans to slash up to 17% of its workforce, the networking giant
said it remains doubtful about its future.
"We are not seeing a turnaround," CEO John Chambers said this morning at the
Global Investor conference in New York. Six weeks into the networking giant's fiscal third quarter, Chambers said, "We see the same slow growth we saw in January." Despite the comments, Cisco ended up 13.6% to $21.38 -- though its bad news was one of the catalysts for yesterday's plunge.
said it's cutting 7,000 jobs in its cell-phone unit and taking a charge on its first- and second-quarter results. Motorola shares were up 1.6% to $15.20. Just yesterday, rival
-- up 5% to $6.59 today, said it would report a loss instead of a profit for its upcoming fiscal first quarter.
The fact that some tech companies are bouncing off of bad news today gives Wall Street pros some incentive to be optimistic. "Arguably, we're closer to a bottom than we are to a top," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at
. "We're more than 60% off the Nasdaq's all-time-high."
In economic news, the
retail sales report for February, released this morning, confirmed that consumers curbed their spending significantly last month. Sales were much lower than economists had been expecting. The data help make the case for aggressive rate cuts to get the economy back on its feet. Indeed, the
fed fund futures contract, a good proxy for monetary policy, has fully priced in a 50 basis-point ease in the
fed funds rate at the
Federal Reserve's upcoming meeting on March 20.
On the mergers and acquisitions front, mobile-phone maker
-- ahead 2.8% to $22.05 -- announced it was selling two plants to contract manufacturer
. SCI was higher by 12.4% to $18.00. And diversified conglomerate
was lower by 7.6% to $46.83 after it struck a deal to buy
for about $9.2 billion. CIT was up a whopping 36.8% to $31.13 on the news.