Stocks were a bit on the squishy side early this afternoon, as blue-chips paced major market averages on the downside while the tech sector was taking a well-deserved breather.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was softer, but off its lows. It was down 64, or 0.6%, to 10,752. The Dow, weighed down the most by its cyclical components, had traded as low as 10,713.72 before coming off that level.
was the biggest drag on the index.
Cyclicals in general were getting beaten up a bit today, noted Scott Curtis, senior equity trader at
Brown Brothers Harriman
Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index
was off 1%. Curtis pointed out that since last week's release of the
Consumer Price Index
report, there's been more of a rotation back into tech stocks.
The weakness in stocks was blamed in part on squishiness in the bond market and that stocks were just taking a break after their recent run-up.
Treasuries were modestly lower. The 30-year bond was lately down 15/32 to 88 29/32, yielding 6.06%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's early
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was up 3, or 0.5%, to 598. In Net news,
data out of
said Internet usage rose 1.3% in May from April, reversing April's decline.
was down 5 to 1344. The
was unchanged at 449.
TheStreet.com E-Finance Index
was up 27/32, or 1%, to 86 5/8, as it makes its debut today on the
American Stock Exchange
. The index tracks the activities of online brokers, online banks and online-transaction companies. The ticker symbol is XEF. Options on the index will be available for trading later this summer on the Amex. Historical data indicate the index would have risen approximately 180% since the beginning of 1999.
Nasdaq Composite Index
was down 8 to 2623. From the close on June 14 to early this afternoon, the Nasdaq Comp has risen roughly 9.3%.
Elsewhere in techland, the
was down 0.3%, the
Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35
was down 0.7% and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
was down 0.3%.
Paul Rabbitt, president of
, said expectations of whopping earnings growth in the tech sector have driven the recent rally in the Nasdaq.
In tech, he said he likes semiconductors and some of the box makers, like
, for example.
As for Net stocks, Rabbitt said: "I think the Internet stocks should not be chased."
Rabbitt said he likes sectors in part where earnings revisions have been strong, like the industrial, energy and commodities arenas for example.
Rabbitt said he's been buying
Briggs & Stratton
Avis Rent A Car
Brokerage stocks were weaker, returning some of yesterday's outsized advance. Estimate-beating earnings from
failed to inspire the sector today, although brokerage issues have rallied sharply ahead of upcoming earnings reports. Lehman was down 4.3%. (Shocking that a brokerage firm outstripped Wall Street estimates, isn't it?)
Coming up on the brokerage earnings front:
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
are both slated to report earnings this week.
As for market internals, on the
New York Stock Exchange
, decliners were leading advancers 1,575 to 1,195 on 403 million shares. On the Nasdaq, losers were beating winners 2,029 to 1,530 on 540 million shares.
On the NYSE, 67 issues had set new highs 52-week while 37 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 80 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 31.
On the Big Board,
was most active, with 18.2 million shares changing hands. It was up 2 1/16 to 24 3/16.
On the Nasdaq,
was most active, with 18.7 million shares changing hands. It was up 1/2 to 62 1/16.
Meanwhile, among other indices, the
Dow Jones Utility Average
was up 0.6%, the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
was up 0.3% and the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
was down 0.8%.
Tuesday's Midday Movers
As noted above, Lehman Brothers was losing 2 9/16 to 57 3/4 after posting second-quarter earnings of $2.09 a share, smashing the 11-analyst
outlook of $1.68 a share but moving down from the year-ago $2.12. Lehman's move seems to reflect today's downward action in finance stocks more than any reaction to its earnings report. Among other brokerages,
was down 3.7%,
was down 3.8%,
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
was down 2.5%, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter was down 3.1% and Goldman Sachs was off 1.4%.
(RAMP:Nasdaq) was growing 3 1/2, or 31.8%, to 14 1/2 after
BancBoston Robertson Stephens
priced its 4 million-share IPO mid-range at $11. The company provides shared Internet access for the small-office market.
(SALN:Nasdaq) was faring less well in its debut, off 1/4 to 10 1/4 after
priced 2.5 million shares at $10.50 each through a Dutch auction.
was hopping 4 1/4, or 30.2%, to 18 3/8 after two firms started coverage of the ISP yesterday.
In other news:
was up 2 5/8, or 5.7%, to 48 7/8 after last night
agreed to acquire the company in a stock swap valued at $7.3 billion. Under the terms of the deal, each Alza share will be exchanged for 1.2 Abbott shares. Abbott said it expects to record a charge of $100 million in 1999 related to the deal and that it sees dilution of 3 cents a share in 2000 earnings. Abbott was down 1 3/16 to 43.
was up 1 3/4, or 7.1%, to 26 9/16 after last night agreeing to be acquired by
Warburg Pincus Ventures
and members of Knoll Management for $28 a share in cash.
was up 1 1/2 to 68 3/16 after
named the stock its Focus One stock of the week.
was down 1 9/16, or 9.9%, to 14 3/16 even after last night reporting first-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, topping the 20-analyst estimate by 3 cents and moving ahead of the year-ago break-even results. The company also announced a strategic alliance with Compaq.
was down 1 3/16, or 10%, to 10 11/16 after last night saying it sees second-quarter operating earnings of 18 cents to 20 cents a share, which would be behind the three-analyst call for 31 cents. In the year-ago period, the company earned 20 cents.