The major market averages suffered heavy losses as the

Nasdaq Composite Index

tumbled 3.1%, while the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 218.68, or 2.2%, to close at 9671.83.

The Dow, however, did manage to close off its intraday low. At its session low, the Dow had fallen 257.80 to 9632.71.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Comp dropped 73.18 to 2322.76. The

S&P 500

surrendered 34.88, or 2.7%, to 1262.13. The

Russell 2000

gave up 9.83, or 2.5%, to 383.37.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index fell 36.82, or 5.8%, to 596.69.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

slumped 6.06, or 5.3%, to 108.17.

Earnings anxiety was an oft-mentioned factor for today's selloff.

The 30-year Treasury bond was up 5/32 to 95 17/32, yielding 5.559%.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

decliners beat advancers 2,338 to 661 on 814 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, losers beat winners 2,878 to 1,140 on 968 million shares.

On the NYSE, 133 issues set new 52-week lows while 16 touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 126 issues set new lows while new highs totaled 26.

Most active on the Big Board was

America Online

(AOL)

, with 36.1 million shares changing hands. It was down 8 7/8, or 6.8%, to 121 1/8.

Most active on the Nasdaq was

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

, with 59.7 million shares changing hands. It was down 2 1/8, or 5.6%, to 35 11/16.

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

3:00 p.m.: Major Indices Continue to Suffer Broad-Based Selloff

Stocks hobbled into the final hour of trading with the market's major averages suffering significant losses on the day.

"Today is ugly," said Jay Suskind, head of institutional equity trading at

Ryan Beck

. But the trader added that despite that, "it feels like it's healthy the way it's letting off some steam."

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 166 to 9724.

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

,

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

,

United Technologies

(UTX) - Get Report

,

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

and

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

all accounted for double-digit point losses from the blue-chip average.

The

S&P 500

was down 28 to 1269. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 54 to 2342.

The

Russell 2000

was down 9 to 384.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 28 to 606.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was down 5 to 110.

The 30-year bond was down 3/32 to 95 10/32, yielding 5.58%.

Market participants cited several reasons for the market's downdraft today. Among the most prominent has been jitters over earnings.

Another reason that has been mentioned is the market has needed to take a break considering the huge amount of ground it has gained in a short period of time. For example, the Dow has gained -- even with today's tumble included -- nearly 470 points since March 3.

"I think the market is finally catching up with itself here," said Suskind. He added that the market's breadth has been terrible, particularly over the last few weeks with it being led by only a small group of stocks.

In addition to earnings worries, Suskind also said the situation in Kosovo has also been cited as an excuse to sell.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 2,295 to 646 on 632 million shares. On the Nasdaq, losers were beating winners 2,790 to 1,088 on 764 million shares.

On the NYSE, 121 issues had set new 52-week lows while 16 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 106 stocks had set new lows while 24 touched new highs.

Most active on the Big Board was

America Online

(AOL)

, with 29 million shares changing hands. It was down 6 5/8 to 123 3/8.

1:50 p.m.: Dow Falls Below 9700 to Session Lows

Dow 10,000 is definitely but a memory for now, as the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell below 9700 this afternoon and was recently trading at its session lows.

The Dow was down 191 to 9699. The

S&P 500

was down 32 to 1265. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 63 to 2333. The

Russell 2000

was off 9 to 384.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 30 to 603.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was down 5 to 109.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 2/32 to 95 9/32, yielding 5.58%.

In other fixed-income news,

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

issued $8 billion of debt today. AT&T's stock was down 7/8 to 76 7/8.

The

Dow Jones Transportation Average

was down 2%.

Fears that earnings won't live up to Wall Street's expectations has contributed to the market's selloff today.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 2,295 to 604 on 530 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, losers were beating winners 2,797 to 996 on 648 million shares.

On the NYSE, 112 issues had set new 52-week lows while 14 had touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 93 issues had set new lows while new highs totaled 21.

Most active on the Big Board was

America Online

(AOL)

, with 27 million shares changing hands. It was down 7 1/8 to 122 7/8.

On the Nasdaq,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

was most active, with 35 million shares changing hands. It was down 1 9/16 to 36 5/16

1:07 p.m.: Midday Musings: Earnings Worries Slash Stock Prices

11:59 a.m.: Stocks Remain Mired in Negative Territory

A little bad news here, a little bad news there, and what had been a sloppy market began to look plain ugly.

The first thing that people will cite when they try to explain away why the market dropped will be the departure of

U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke

from Belgrade and the breakup of the Kosovo peace talks. Then there is

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

upping its bond offering to $8 billion -- that's weighed on the Treasury market, and that, in turn, has weighed on stocks. Add to that continued weakness in tech, rumors that a major bank will miss its first-quarter numbers, on-the-fact selling in oils after the

OPEC

meeting, reduced earnings estimates for

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

. . .

Okay, you get the point -- there are all kinds of excuses getting bandied about for today's selling. Which suggests what's really happening is the market simply went a little too far and is letting off some air. "I think what happened is we're getting a lot of profit taking going into the end of the quarter," said Jim Volk, co-director of institutional at trading

D.A. Davidson

. "This is not unhealthy. This is only 2% or 3% off the top."

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 155, or 2%, to 9736. After buyers attempted to take it higher at 1290, 1285, 1280 and 1275, the

S&P 500

finally found support at 1270. It was lately off 26, or 2%, to 1271. Small stocks were getting hammered -- the

Russell 2000

was off 7, or 2%, to 386.

Tech Focus

Tough times in tech, where the selling has continued. The

Nasdaq Composite

was off 51, or 2%, to 2345. Internet stocks have been one of the bright spots in the market lately, but are not today.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector Index

was off 22, or 3%, to 612.

But for all the selling, there really isn't too much going on in the sector other than a continuation of recent weakness. "There aren't any big company stories," said one tech trader. "It's just all futures stuff. It's not a very busy day."

--

Justin Lahart

10:58 a.m.: Stocks Fall Further Into the Red

Losses aren't catastrophic for major market proxies, but it's not pretty on Wall Street this morning. Just about everything that can go wrong has.

First,

Reuters

reported

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

upped its corporate bond offering (expected to price today) to $8 billion from an already huge $7 billion. Then, several sources reported

U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke

and

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic

have ended their talks in Belgrade without making a deal. (Maybe we should send

Monty Hall

?)

The prospect of

NATO

action (a.k.a. war) over the Kosovo crises is looking increasingly unavoidable. In reaction to both news items, the price of the 30-year Treasury bond (up as much as 8/32 early this morning) was lately down 1/32 to 95 11/32, its yield rising to 5.57%.

After an unsteady opening, stocks have since turned noticeably southward. Heck, even

America Online

(AOL)

is down.

AOL, which pretty much rose unabated from 76 1/2 on Feb. 17 to 130

yesterday (setting a series of new highs in the process) was lately down 6% to 122 3/16. In reaction,

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was recoiling from its record close yesterday, down 26 to 607.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was off 4 to 110.

With technology stocks of all stripes following AOL's lead, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

was lately down 52 to 2344.

More (how shall we say it?) "mature" indices were also stumbling this morning. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was lately off 142 to 9747.

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

was among the biggest Dow decliners after

Merrill Lynch

cut earning estimates on the beverage giant.

Other big Dow losers include

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

and

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

.

The

S&P 500

was lower by 24 to 1273 thanks to weakness in nearly every leading industry group. Crude prices and energy stocks were retreating in a classic "buy the rumor, sell the news" trade.

OPEC

members agreed to cut production by a little over 1.7 million barrels a day. Combined with cuts by non-OPEC oil producers, production will be trimmed by 2.1 million barrels per day. But energy stocks had rallied sharply in anticipation of the deal, which had been telegraphed by OPEC ministers.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was lately down 3%.

"It isn't looking that bad yet, but they're starting to get weaker now," said Jim Volk, co-head of institutional trading at

DA Davidson

. "People are really getting spooked on tech stocks and tech numbers.

Also banks stocks are getting crashed here again."

Volk said he'd heard rumblings on

CNBC

about financial stocks forecasting disappointing earnings. Before the market opened,

Maria Bartiromo

reported

Finova

(FNV) - Get Report

may wave the red flag, although newswires have not reported anything as yet. The stock was recently down 5%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

was lately down 2% and the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was off 4%.

"It's a combination of the fact tech got kicked in the teeth last Thursday and Friday and it carried over yesterday, plus the Serbian stuff and people taking profits," Volk said. "Are we setting ourselves up for a correction? It's acting like they really want to hit 'em. No one can deny the market is ahead of itself."

--

Aaron L. Task

9:55 a.m.: Stocks Tumble at the Open

Stocks were softer early on as the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

continued its drift further and further away from the 10,000 level.

The Dow was down 61 to 9829. The

S&P 500

was down 9 to 1288. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 9 to 2387. The

Russell 2000

was down 2 to 391.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 3 to 630.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was down 1 to 114.

The 30-year Treasury bond was up 2/32 to 95 14/32 yielding 5.56%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Elan (ELN) , up 1 1/16 to 72 7/8

.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

@Home (ATHM) - Get Report, up 4 1/8 to 144 1/8

.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Chase (CMB) , down 1 7/8 to 80

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

PathoGenesis (PGNS) , down 22 7/8 to 11 7/8

: The company yesterday warned it expects to report a first-quarter loss of 30 cents a share, a mile away from the earnings of 20 cents expected by the

First Call

six-analyst consensus.

--

Brian Louis