The bottom question is back.
Some thought the
Nasdaq Composite Index had hit bottom following yesterday's first down open in a long time -- it dipped to 3382. But earnings warning season just won't quit. Another round of pre-announcements overnight rekindled insecurity. After flipping through the flatline several times in early trading, the Nasdaq had lately settled on a slide into the red.
Dow Jones Industrial Average was doing some of the same. After rallying through the Nasdaq's pain during the past week, the blue-chip index hopped between red and green at the open and then turned south.
S&P 500 was also falling, while
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was slipping under
pressure again. The company, which warned of revenue weakness late last month, announced this morning that it would shut down operations of its Web-house gas and groceries licensee.
Last night's major earnings warning came from PC-maker
, which was feeling investors' ire. The Nasdaq's most actively traded stock this morning, Dell was lately off 8.2%. It was tugging the other PC-makers down with it.
were the culprits for the Dow's late malaise, stealing over 39 and 14 points from the index, respectively. H-P was lately off 7.0% and IBM was down 1.8%.
were also falling, off 4.5% and 8.7%.
Semiconductors were also getting whacked this morning, despite
blowout fiscal fourth-quarter earnings from chip-making bellwether
cut estimates and
cut the price target on Micron this morning.
Analysts were happy with the fourth-quarter numbers but worried about chip prices
going forward. Micron was off 7.1%. Other semiconductor stocks
Advanced Micro Devices
were also lower, off 0.3% and 3.8%.
New York Stock Exchange
, networking company
was the most active after it won a $1 billion contract with telecom
. Lucent was up 1.1%, while SBC was 3.0% higher.
were slipping after issuing earnings warnings. Pitney was off 31.8% and J.C. Penney was down 8.4%.
has been tracking many of the warnings in a
Dow Jones Industrial Average component to issue a report this season, Alcoa
this morning reported earnings in line with expectations. The world's largest aluminum manufacturer, Alcoa was down 3.2% after jumping 11.2% through Wednesday this week.
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Airline stocks were rising for a third day in a row, boosting the
American Stock Exchange Airline Index
2.6% and the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
was flat at $45.06
Paper shares were shedding recent strength, weighing on the
Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index
, which was off 1.3%, and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Products Index
, which was down 2.4%. Shared components
were both down.
The energy sector, which has been falling all week, continued down after oil prices fell overnight. The
American Stock Exchange Natural Gas Index
was off 1.3%, the
Chicago Board Options Exchange Oil Index
was down 1.3%, and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index
was 1.9% lower.
Dell's warning was slaughtering the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index
, which was off 5.4%. Chip worries were likewise slamming the semiconductors: The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
had fallen 3.8%.
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Treasuries are little changed on not much news ahead of tomorrow's release of the September
employment report, the most important economic report to roll around each month.
There are no major economic reports today, although at 2 p.m. EDT the
Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes of its Aug. 22 meeting.
At its most recent meeting on Tuesday, the FOMC
cited the still-high level of labor-force utilization -- aka low unemployment rates -- as its main reason for maintaining its aggressive posture on interest rates.
The employment report will provide the latest readings on unemployment, with possible implications for monetary policy. In August, the regular unemployment rate stood at 4.1% and the
augmented unemployment rate -- the measure preferred by the
Fed -- stood at 6.9%.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note lately was up 2/32 to 98 31/32 and yielding 5.888%.
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