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 tech 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."

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