Stock traders had trouble all day deciding which way to send stocks, but a consensus arrived in the final hour: Down.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
again saw its intraday high come and go in the earliest minutes of trading, rising as much as 37.12 to 8928.35 by 9:40 a.m. EDT. From there the blue-chips dipped into a break-even-hugging trading range that lasted until about 3:15 p.m. And then came the collapse: By 3:40, the Dow had cratered to an intraday low of 8789.85, down 101.38. It bounced back to close down 87.44 at 8803.80, with
faring worst. The broad
matched the pattern, splashing down 10.30 to 1082.74. Both indices now are below their late-April closing lows.
"I think we were just kind of sitting there waiting for it to happen," said Dan Baker, codirector of institutional trading at
in Portland, Ore. "It didn't even seem to be trading. It's not a major surprise. We need a little more on the downside to make things healthy."
yesterday's modest rebound look like a mere aberration, the high-tech sector surrendered intraday strength to close right around
Monday's harshly depressed levels.
led the decline, crunching down 3 3/16 to a 52-week low of 65 15/16 amid worries about its earnings outlook and the government's likely antitrust suit.
Hambrecht & Quist
slashed its second-quarter and full-year earnings estimates on Intel. (After the close, Intel said it had no plans to preannounce poor second-quarter earnings or to change its guidance on the numbers.)
The Intel jitters sparked bad stumbles for all of the major tech-focused indices, as the
Nasdaq Composite Index
dropped 19.48, or 1.1%, to 1742.31; the large-cap
sledded 23.17, or 2%, to 1163.98; the
Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35
lost 10.94, or 2.1%, to 523.44; and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
slammed down 7.88, or 3.1%, to 244.16.
"That may be the reason du jour," Baker said of Intel's drop, "but the techs have been getting battered pretty good for how long now? This didn't just happen today."
Among other indices, the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
hopped 31.28, or 1%, to 3290.58; the
Dow Jones Utilities Average
shed 0.78 to 290.52; and the
American Stock Exchange Composite Index
gave up 1.82 to 704.48.
, which stayed in positive territory until the last 25 minutes of trading as money rotated into its long-depressed sector, couldn't hold its gains and fell 0.54 to 449.16. Small-cap strength helped advancers lead decliners on both major exchanges for most of the session, but the downs won out in the end.
New York Stock Exchange
decliners beat advancers by 1,544 to 1,410 on 581.5 million shares, with 92 new lows ahead of 49 new highs. On the
Nasdaq Stock Market
, 2,352 decliners topped 1,845 advancers on 736.1 million shares. New Nasdaq lows outpaced new highs by 180 to 60.
"I think the market's weak," Baker said. "Even before this latest wave down, our down days were worse than our up days were good." With that said, Baker reiterated that he considers a pullback prudent at this point, given the market's strong performance in the first quarter. Near-term, he said, traders will wait for Friday's May
as the next tangible piece of information to trade on.
Philip Tasho, CEO of
Riggs Investment Management
in Washington, also said he was untroubled by the market's recent struggles. "The fundamentals are still extremely positive, and so I believe there's still some more upside for the remainder of the year," he said. "It's not going to be as smooth
as in the first quarter. Things will go in fits and starts."
The bond market attracted some haven-seekers this afternoon, with late buying pushing the benchmark 30-year Treasury up 5/32 to 104 26/32. The yield eased to 5.78%.
Elsewhere in North American equities, the
Toronto Stock Exchange 300
lost 40.76 to 7493.24 and the Mexican
slid 24.76 to 4455.24.
Wednesday's Company Report
Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified
took in 4 3/16, or 7.3%, to 61 3/4 after
agreed to buy it in a $7.1 billion stock deal. Tellabs dropped 2 1/16 to 63 13/16. As
yesterday, rumors of a pending acquisition sent Ciena leaping higher late in yesterday's session.
had a closer look at the deal in another story
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
Allied Life Financial
rose 2 5/8, or 10.1%, to a high of 28 3/4 on news that its directors will recommend acceptance of a $30-per-share takeover offer from
Nationwide Mutual Insurance
. Nationwide already owns 56% of Allied Life. Yesterday, Nationwide and
, an affiliate of Allied Life, said they are in talks that could lead to a friendly $1.7 billion merger. Allied Group today scored 3 5/16, or 7.7%, to 46 3/16.
swelled 2 1/8, or 8.7%, to 27 after saying yesterday that it will buy privately held
Pyramid Health Group
for $66.8 million in stock to expand services.
Earnings reports and previews
soared 3 3/16, or 31.9%, to 13 3/16 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 36 cents per share compared to the year-ago 18 cents. First Call did not have estimates for the company.
skidded 1 9/16, or 16.3%, to 8 after late
yesterday warning of a big second-quarter loss.
tumbled 4 5/8, or 15.4%, to 25 3/8 after late
yesterday reporting fourth-quarter earnings in line with First Call expectations.
lost 2 1/4, or 14.3%, to 13 1/2 after warning that it expects to report second-quarter earnings of 15 cents per share, short of the 10-analyst view of 27 cents and the year-earlier 23 cents. The power-conversion equipment company said lower end-use demand in its major market segments hurt sales.
Integrated Device Technology
dived 1 1/4, or 14.3%, to 7 17/32 after saying it sees a first-quarter operating loss of $15 million. The three-analyst estimate calls for a break-even quarter compared to the year-ago profit of 2 cents per share.
lowered 1 3/16, or 10.1%, to 11 1/8 after recording a deeper-than-expected second-quarter loss late
sank 3 7/8, or 9.8%, to 35 5/8 after late
yesterday reporting first-quarter earnings in line with expectations.
slipped 1/16 to 11 151/16 after saying a restructuring program would cause nonrecurring first-quarter charges of $90 million to $110 million. The two-analyst outlook for the quarter, ending July, calls for an operating loss of 15 cents per share versus the year-earlier profit of 19 cents. Also, Handleman reported fourth-quarter earnings of 8 cents, a penny better than the two-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 1 cent.
fell 1 1/8 to 23 1/8 after late
yesterday warning of a second-quarter shortfall.
picked up 7/8 to 39 3/4 after
Bankers Trust Alex. Brown
started coverage with a buy. Late
yesterday, the company reported positive fourth quarter earnings.
Offerings and stock actions
descended 3 1/4, or 5.8%, to 53 1/16 after
said it would cut its stake in Arco Chemical to 50% from 82% through a secondary offering and a sale of shares to Arco Chemical. Atlantic Richfield lost 5/16 to 77 3/4.
slid 1/16 to 27 1/16 after saying that its 19.9 million-share offering was priced at $26.50 per share.
stumbled 2 1/4, or 9.2%, to 22 1/8 after
cut it to neutral from accumulate.
shot up 2 11/16, or 8.1%, to 36 1/2 after
raised its price target to 66 from 45.
jumped 1 5/8, or 7.2%, to 24 after
initiated coverage at buy.
climbed 1, or 6.4%, to 16 7/8 after
NationsBanc Montgomery Securities
upgraded it to buy from hold.
sank 5/8, or 6.1%, to 9 5/8 after
cut it to hold from buy.
, also in the semiconductor fabrication business, added 3/4 to 36 3/8 despite a downgrade from the firm to buy from strong buy.
advanced 1 9/16, or 5.4%, to 30 3/4 after
Salomon Smith Barney
began coverage at buy.
tacked on 1/2 to 35 5/8 after Salomon Smith Barney initiated coverage at outperform.
grew 15/16 to 59 5/8 after announcing that at least 14,000 managers will voluntarily retire. That puts the company a year ahead of its plan to cut its workforce by 18,000 over two years. AT&T also said it's comfortable with 1998 earnings estimates of $3.25 to $3.35 per share even though it will take a bigger-than-expected charge of more than $1.2 billion to pay for the early retirements.
plunged 13/16, or 59.1%, to 9/16 after saying it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
collapsed 5 5/8, or 15.4%, to 31 1/4 on concerns about trial results for its impotence drug
Jesse Eisinger, covering the
American Urological Association
conference in San Diego, looked at Zonagen and other companies battling to find the next
sprung 1 1/8, or 11.8%, to 10 11/16 after announcing the extension of the Eagle Bay natural gas field.
flourished 1 5/8 to 79 despite a
Wall Street Journal
"Heard on the Street" piece criticizing its "fancy accounting methods." Word of the negative article leaked all over Wall Street yesterday and sent AOL down then; investors seem to be concluding that enough damage was done.
rose 2 1/8 to 75 1/8 after it reported a 19.6% gain in light-truck sales and a 7.2% rise in car sales.
fell 1 3/8 to 55 5/8 after saying its May light-truck sales rose 7.6% while car sales fell 3.3%.
, which yesterday reported a truck sales leap of 39% and a car sales gain of 5%, added 3/16 to 56 3/16.
ascended 1 1/2 to 55 9/16 after the
Food and Drug Administration
approved commercial distribution of its Wiktor Rival stent system.
leapt 1 7/16 to 43 11/16 and
leapt 1 5/16 to 33 3/4 after the
news that both companies will be added to the
S&P MidCap 400
tacked on 1 to 25 after saying it will hire a new executive to manage day-to-day operations and relieve CEO Eric Benhamou of some of his responsibilities.
slipped 7/16 to 40 3/4 after ending a 32-year franchise agreement with one of its largest independent bottlers because it had threatened to intervene in Pepsi's lawsuit against
grew 1/4 to 14 1/8 after saying late
yesterday that it will open 80 Journeys stores this year and that it expects a second-quarter charge of up to $900,000 to cut expenses.
fell 3/4 to 30 3/8 after denying rumors circulating on the Internet that the company is being investigated by the
Securities and Exchange Commission