Stocks Close Broadly Lower After Fed Comments, Data Revisions

Inflation fears triggered rate concerns.
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Although the mid-afternoon looked bleak, with a market down around 200 points, the close didn't look as awful, having sliced that deficit in half. The 100-point move over the last two hours eased the sting of a bad day.

Much of the drop was due to the release of an early morning interview with

Fed

Governor

Edward Kelley

In it, he made comments which reinvigorated fears of a Fed hike. Also, revised government data showed that

productivity

was lower, while

labor costs

rose.

Because of all the governmental news, inflation fears inflamed, dropping the long bond, while the market fostered premature paranoia about the Oct. 5

Federal Open Market Committee

meeting.

The market's internals were not great either. On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 2,076 to 835 on 688 million shares. There were 115 new 52-week lows vs. 23 52-week highs. Meanwhile on the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, losers were beating winners 2,354 to 1,420 on 831 million shares, while new 52-week lows topped new 52-week highs 75 to 64.

Despite positive August sales figures, retailers were failures. The

S&P Retail Index

was down 10.60, or 1%, to 814.70,

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

,

K-Mart

(KMT) - Get Report

and

Dayton Hudson

(DH)

all announced that same-store August sales figures were on the rise, yet market reaction to the news was mixed. After spending much of the day down, Wal-Mart recovered and finished up 11/16 to 45 11/16. K-Mart stayed low at 26 9/16, down 5/16. Dayton Hudson died, dropping 1 5/8, or 3%, to 56 5/8.

Two retail heavies saw stock prices lighten.

JC Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

fell 4% to 36 7/16, outpacing the bad news on August's sales, which were off 3.2%.

Sears

(S) - Get Report

lowered its per-share earnings expectations to a range in the mid 60s, well under an analyst estimate of 82 cents a share. Analysts then cut the stock, which fell 3 11/16, or 10%, to 33 1/2 and helped contribute 18 to the Dow Jones loss.

Today's winning indices were few and far between. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold & Silver Index

were both up over 1%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was up 3.06 to 533.15.

A handful of indices sported welts from drops of 2% or more. The

American Stock Exchange Natural Gas Index

,

Nasdaq Financial-100 Index

,

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Phone Index

and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

were all smarting from the losses.

On the Big Board,

Office Depot

(ODP) - Get Report

was still the most active, with 12 million shares changing hands. It was down 1/16 to 10 1/4.

On the Nasdaq,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was most active, with 25 million shares changing hands. It was up 1 7/8 to 85 5/16.

Earlier...

2:57 p.m.: Red Remains the Color of the Day

With an hour to go, casualties litter the ticker. Everything is still red.

1:58 p.m.: Rate Concerns, Economic Data Suppress Stocks

Rumor and innuendo can sabotage. Good examples are

Pee Wee Herman

and today's market performance.

1:14 p.m.: Midday Musings: Hints of Higher Rates Send Equities Tumbling

11:55 a.m.: Rate Concerns Send Stocks, Bonds Tumbling

Seized by another day of worry that the

Federal Open Market Committee

will raise short-term interest rates when it meets on Oct. 5 helped send stocks and bonds tumbling.

11:06 a.m.: Stocks Post Big Losses After Fed Governor's Comments

A confluence of negatives has triggered a widespread and deep selloff on Wall Street this morning. However, major stock proxies have managed to climb off their session lows.

9:56 a.m.: Stocks Open Sharply Lower After Hawkish Comments From a Fed Governor

Hawkish comments from a

Fed

governor helped sideswipe stocks early on as all of the market's major gauges were sharply lower.