Investors are back in the saddle after some bearish
comments and dot-com hackers threw them off of their bullish ride down Wall Street. At the midday mark, yesterday's sellers were ready to buy growth again, with the tech-laden
Nasdaq Composite Index
showing huge gains while the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
"The focus is still on tech," said Randy Billhardt, co-head of block trading at
. "They proved that regardless of interest-rate fears, they're still the leaders of the market. Until proven differently, that's where the growth has been and will continue to be and unfortunately, the blue-chips have suffered as a result. Just look at
," referring to Cisco edging out
as the second-largest U.S. company.
As usual, today's trading session is proof that investors are sticking with the big growth names that have been good to them in the past. That's making other sectors relatively attractively valued, and some investors are seeing that as an opportunity.
""There are a lot of great companies that are at attractive prices that are just waiting for a catalyst," said Brian Gilmartin, portfolio manager at
Trinity Asset Management
. "Consumer spending is strong and retailers can benefit from that. They're also using the Internet to take costs out of their P&L, seeing the Web not as a competitive threat but an advantage." The
S&P Retail Index
was up 0.3%.
Lately, the Nasdaq was climbing 80, or 1.8%, to 4444.
In Nasdaq trading,
was jumping 38 1/4, or 14.9%, to 294 1/4 after posting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.
Elsewhere in tech land,
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was bouncing back from yesterday's "hacked" losses, up 17, or 1.5%, to 1164.
Check Point Software Technologies
were on the upside, while
were tiptoeing back into positive territory after spending some time in the red.
Not all investors are attributing yesterday's selloff to this week's hacking activity. In fact, Gilmartin said that the problems could actually boost sellers of business systems.
"I think the idea of hacking being a force behind the market is overblown," he said. "I think the Internet companies will actually benefit because it will make them more secure because they're working feverishly to prevent it from happening again. This could help e-commerce, too."
Perhaps the better explanation for yesterday's losses came from the
saying it would take a broader approach to scaling back on future issuance, not just focusing on the benchmark 30-year. Lately, the market has been turning to the 10-year and 5-year Treasury notes as a more accurate market indicator. "You need a certain amount of liquidity in the market," Gilmartin said. "If the Treasury would buy back the 30-year, then that liquidity would dry up, which has people looking to the 5- and 10-year."
Lately, the 30-year Treasury was down 23/32 to 96 24/32, yielding 6.37%, while the 10-year was off a more modest 7/32 to 99 6/32, yielding 6.61%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 9 to 10,690, after posting the third-largest point and percentage loss of the year yesterday. Tech heavyweight
, up 1.5%, was fighting to keep the index in the green.
New York Stock Exchange
was sinking 9 1/4, or 36%, to 16 7/16, after a disappointing fourth-quarter earnings report.
Biotechs were showing continued strength during today's session. The
Nasdaq Biotech Index
was up 1.7%, with
leading the pack.
was climbing 6 to 1417, while the small-cap
was lifting 5 to 541.
Breadth was mixed on moderate volume.
New York Stock Exchange:
1,243 advancers, 1,626 decliners, 637 million shares. 62 new 52-week highs, 185 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market:
2,133 advancers, 1,817 decliners, 1.1 billion shares. 237 new highs, 54 new lows.
For a look at stocks in the midsession news, see Midday Movers, published separately.