Stocks Remain Modestly Lower in Lackluster Trading

The Treasury market is slightly higher after Thursday's big fall.
Publish date:

In a violently volatile week which began with fear and has shifted to sanguinity overall, the major market averages were taking a break so far today and were mostly lower at midmorning.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 54 to 10,673. The biggest drag on the Dow was


(T) - Get Report

, which yesterday made an unsolicited bid valued at more than $62 billion, including debt, for



. This topped


(CMCSA) - Get Report

friendly $54 billion offer, which Comcast made last month.

wrote about the situation in a story

this morning.

AT&T was down 3 1/8, or 6%, to 53 5/8. Ma Bell was most active on the

New York Stock Exchange

with 18 million shares changing hands.

Meanwhile, MediaOne jumped 7, or 10%, to 76 1/2. Comcast was up 1 1/2 to 67 5/8.


S&P 500

was up 7 to 1352. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 10 to 2552. The

Russell 2000

was down fractionally at 429. Internet Sector

index was up 6 to 666.

Overall, "the climate's pretty good," for the market, said Peter Coolidge, managing director of trading at

Brean Murray Foster Securities

, citing in part solid earnings this quarter and continued merger-and-acquisition activity.

Coolidge said he's not looking for the market to do too much today.

The feeling is that this quarter has been the best in terms of upside earnings surprises in a while, Coolidge said.

One of this quarter's upside surprises was delivered by


(IBM) - Get Report

, which posted much better-than-expected results Wednesday after the close and powered the market sharply higher yesterday. Big Blue was padding its gains this morning, up 7/8 to 195 3/8.

On the earnings front today, drug titan


(MRK) - Get Report

reported first-quarter earnings of 54 cents a share, in line with the

First Call

30-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 47 cents.

Merck was down 2 1/4 to 75 5/8. The

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

was down 1%.

The 30-year Treasury bond was up 7/32 to 95 4/32, yielding 5.59%.

On the Big Board, decliners were beating advancers 1,381 to 1,089 on 227 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, winners and losers were tied at 1,5875 on 314 million shares.

On the NYSE, 27 issues had set new 52-week highs while 10 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 34 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 23.

On the Nasdaq,


(DELL) - Get Report

was most active, with 9 million shares changing hands. It was up 9/16 to 42 7/16.

9:56 a.m.: Stocks Take a Breather After Three Sessions of Gains

Stocks were softer early on, taking a break after three straight sessions of sizable gains.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 47 to 10,680.


S&P 500

was down 6 to 1353. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was down 18 to 2544. The

Russell 2000

was down 1 to 428. Internet Sector

index was down 6 to 654.

The 30-year Treasury bond was up 6/32 to 95 3/32, yielding 5.59%, in the wake of yesterday's selloff.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Vodafone (VOD) - Get Report, up 2 to 188 5/8


Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq (PCLN) , up 9 11/16 to 86 1/16

: Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of, naming it to its recommended list.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

America Online (AOL) , down 4 9/16 to 146 3/4


Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

Knight/Trimark Group (NITE) , down 5 to 110