Stocks Continue to Take a Beating Amid Bond Meltdown

A surprise in the CPI report hammered the markets.
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With bonds at their lowest levels in a year, stocks remain under heavy pressure.

The problem is the April

Consumer Price Index

, which came in well above expectations and may force the

Federal Open Market Committee

to shift toward a tightening bias at its meeting next Tuesday.

"People are getting spooked again about inflation," said Jim Volk, co-director of institutional trading at

D.A. Davidson

. "We'll see what happens, but right now the line of least resistance is down."

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was lately off 147, or 1%, to 10,960. The

S&P 500

was down 23, or 2%, to 1345.

Tech stocks and Internets were taking heavy hits. The

Nasdaq Composite

was down 30, or 1% to 2552, and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector Index

was down 9 to 633. Small-caps, which have seen good gains over the last month, were down as well: The

Russell 2000

lost 5, or 1%, to 446.

The 30-year bond was last down 2 2/32 to 90 29/32, yielding 5.90%

There was selective strength in oils and cyclicals, as investors bet that growth in those sectors would be able outpace a hike in rates.

9:58 a.m.: Surprise in CPI Data Sends Stocks Tumbling

Stocks and bonds are plunging in early trading after a surprisingly large increase in the

Consumer Price Index

.

The April CPI rose 0.7% overall and 0.4% excluding volatile food and energy prices -- both figures were way ahead of expectations. The 30-year Treasury bond lurched sharply downward as soon as the numbers came out at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and it lately was down 1 23/32 to 91 8/32. The yield shot up to 5.88%, the highest level in nearly a year.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 105 to 11,002, the

S&P 500

was down 18 to 1350, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 46 to 2536, the

Russell 2000

was down 6 to 445 and

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 14 to 628.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Case (CSE) , up 1 11/16 to 44 1/2

: Case was rising on news of a possible merger with

New Holland

(NH) - Get Report

.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

@Home (ATHM) - Get Report, up 2 3/4 to 152 1/16

: The company formed an alliance with

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

to speed the launch of high-speed Web services.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Charles Schwab (SCH) , down 5 15/16 to 111 1/16

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

Net.B@nk (NTBK) , down 6 1/8 to 181 1/8

.

--

John J. Edwards III