Stocks Close Down as Dollar Tumbles

The Internet sector was hit hard.
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It didn't matter what you were looking at -- stocks, bonds, the buck -- they were all bleeders today.

Bonds, which held up rather well for most of the session despite the weakness in the greenback, suffered a downdraft late in the afternoon. Although stocks were squishy all day, major market gauges did manage to close off their worst levels of the session. The dollar took a left hook on news that the U.S. trade deficit skyrocketed to a record $24.62 billion in June, much wider than the $20.5 billion projected by analysts. The decaying buck helped trigger worries about inflation and weighed on stocks. Volume in the stock market was light overall.

Internet stocks endured sizable blows to the belly.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index hit its session nadir not long before the closing bell.

Blue-chips were luckier. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

recovered most of its intraday losses, closing off nearly 30 points. The Dow had traded down as low as 10,873.29.

The

Nasdaq 100

gave up 1.7%, while the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

lost 1.5%.

Looking ahead, in the back of market participants' minds is Tuesday's slated meeting of the

Federal Open Market Committee

. The FOMC is expected to hike the federal funds rate 25 basis points.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners beat advancers 1,610 to 1,376 on 677.3 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, losers beat winners 2,132 to 1,690 on 861.3 million shares.

On the NYSE, 82 issues set new 52-week lows while 40 touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 54 issues set new 52-week highs while new lows totaled 53.

On the NYSE,

Western Digital

(WDC) - Get Report

was most active, with 13.8 million shares changing hands. It was up 1 1/16, or 18.7%, to 6 3/4 on rumors it might be taken over.

On the Nasdaq,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

was most active, with 35.7 million shares changing hands. It was down 1 1/4 to 83 13/16.

Market data above are preliminary. Updated numbers and analysis will follow in the Market Roundup

Earlier...

2:56 p.m.: Major Indices Modestly Lower as Tech Sector Takes a Big Hit

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

pulled itself out of the mud enough to inch close to break-even shortly after 2 p.m. EDT, but it lost its balance and was modestly lower going into the final hour of trading.

2:03 p.m.: Stocks Down as Dollar Continues to Retreat vs. Yen

A sickly dollar has helped incite inflation and higher interest-rate jitters, and is taking the blame for the ailing condition of major market averages this afternoon.

1:17 p.m.: Midday Musings: Who'da Thunk It? Trade Figures Send Stocks Stumbling

11:59 a.m.: Stocks Remain Lower as Dollar-Yen Continues to Suffer

As lunchtime looms on Wall Street, taking some of the blame for the softness in stocks is that piece of special paper with the mug of

George Washington

on the front of it: The good old U.S. dollar.

10:59 a.m.: Dollar-Yen Woes Continue to Depress Stocks

Stocks were following the dollar in the dumps as the greenback was suffering another setback against the yen.

9:56 a.m.: Dollar-Yen Woes Weigh on Stocks Anew

Stocks were getting shellacked early on, while the greenback continued its tumble against the Japanese yen.