(Updated from 3:26 p.m. EDT)
The few brave souls on Wall Street didn't get much relief following a horrendous end to a nasty week of trading
A lot of Wall Street was missing in action today. Yom Kippur and
Columbus Day left trading pretty quiet and squeezed volume to a trickle.
While the Nasdaq bounced way off its lows from earlier this morning, the overall tone of the market was pretty lousy and the weakness in the tech continues to be a major concern.
After last week's action, the Comp was nearing its May low of 3164.5, while the Dow was slinking back to levels last reached in late July.
Even as earnings season kicks off this week with the first substantial round of reporting companies, warnings continued to trickle in -- among them
The company, which makes equipment for the development of semiconductor devices, said Friday it expected third quarter earnings to miss consensus earnings estimates due to material shortages. Electroglas by itself wouldn't make much of a splash. But high-profile earnings warnings from several companies in the past few weeks -- among them
-- has investors on edge.
Consensus estimates show analysts have revised their third-quarter earnings growth projections down to 14.9% from 15.3% last week, according to a morning report from market research firm
. Analysts were initially expecting 18.2% growth at the close of the second quarter. Meanwhile, new preannouncement data showed this has been the worst confession season of the year, with 70% of total preannouncements negative.
Still, I/B/E/S remained optimistic, saying that the history of positive surprises seen within the
S&P 500, it believes the 14.9% growth figure is conservative. Third-quarter earnings growth, the report said, can still approach 18%-19% if past trends continue. (
looked at the earnings-growth outlook in a
The Nasdaq was hit by bellwethers like
, off 2.2% to $39.06 and
, off 4.5% to $53.69. Intel has been falling since late September.
was also getting whooped after
cut its rating on the company to neutral from outperform. Connetics was down 79.2% to $5.31.
was the Dow's biggest winner. Rebounding from last week's slide, it added some 22 points of upside to the index. H-P shares ended up 4.3% to $90.94.
shares were falling after a
Wall Street Journal
article that reported that
Senate Judiciary Committee
chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) warned that ties between the telecom and a merged
could threaten competition. The company's shares have been in the sewer since early May.
Last week, Salomon Smith Barney's Jack Grubman cut the ratings and price target on the beleaguered company, citing lower expectations for AT&T's consumer and business long-distance segments. AOL said it shouldn't have to break off its ties with AT&T because U.S. regulators addressed the issue in a review of an earlier merger. AT&T was off 2.3% to $26.63.
Among the day's other gainers,
Electronic Data Systems
was up 9.9% to $44.63 after announcing Friday after the close that it received a $6.9 billion contract to link the Navy and Marines' computer systems.
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Breadth was improving, but still pretty bad on light holiday volume.
New York Stock Exchange: 1,208 advancers, 1,562 decliners, 718 million shares. 20 new 52-week highs, 80 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market: 1,498 advancers, 2,373 decliners, 1.389 billion shares. 19 new highs, 344 new lows.
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Most Active Stocks
NYSE Most Actives
- Motorola (MOT) : 15.6 million shares.
Nokia (NOK) - Get Report: 11.55 million shares.
Nortel (NT) : 11.53 million shares.
Nasdaq Most Actives
- Intel: 55.5 million shares.
Cisco: 44.9 million shares.
Dell: 36 million shares.
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was giving a rowdy kick to the Internet stock index. BroadVision flew up 20.2% to $21.94 after a month-long slide in September.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector Index
was up 3.1%.
Check Point Software Technologies
continued to move higher, up 1.9% to $160.75. The stock was consistently making new highs until the start of the month. But after a steep two day slide, it began to rise again.
Renewed strength in oil prices was no good for market sentiment. But it sure was good for oil and gas stocks. The
American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index
was up 2.2%, while the
American Stock Exchange Natural Gas Index
was 1.9% higher.
Crude oil prices rose as much as 88 cents to $31.10 as violence escalated in the Middle East and an early spell of cold weather hit the U.S. Oil reserves are already at a 24-year low and a number of refineries this month are reducing their capacity for maintenance.
Brokerage stocks continued to wallow in their misery after getting badly hit Friday by concerns of margin calls and chatter over rumored losses on junk-bond trading. Investors are worried that trading-related losses will hurt the revenues of the big brokerages.
wrote about one brokerage's
denial of the rumors as well as a
preview of financial services sector earnings. The
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
was 2.2% lower.
The drug stocks were jumping in early trading, despite weakness in pharmaceutical
, which was off 1.7% to $66.31. The company said it will buy Block Drug for $1.2 billion in cash for U.S. companies Polident dentures cleaner and Sensodyne toothpaste. SmithKline Beecham is merging with
to form the world's No. 2 drugmaker.
Glaxo Wellcome was also falling, off 1.6% to $58.38. The
American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index
was down 1.2%.
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The bond market is closed for Columbus Day. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note last traded on Friday at 99 15/32, yielding 5.821%.
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