Stocks Remain Mostly Lower After Early Jump

The Internet sector is one of the few bright spots in the market.
Publish date:

Everyone agrees that the Balkans have no market effect. But when news that Yugoslavia had boldly declared a unilateral ceasefire hit the wires this morning, major indices jumped. And when


issued a cool and cautious response minutes later, once again reiterating the demands that

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic

must meet to stop the Allied bombings, those same indices unilaterally fell back.

Go figure.

After scurrying hither and thither in early trading, stocks remained mostly lower near midday, with the indefatigable Internet sector where it's most comfortable: way out in front. The 30-year Treasury bond was rallying after yesterday's sluggish performance, up 26/32 to 95 29/32, yielding 5.53%.


Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 6 to 2566. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 42 to 9966. The

S&P 500

was down 3 to 1318. The

Russell 2000

was down fractionally at 402. Internet Sector

index was up 29 to 712. E-Commerce Index

was down 1 to 122.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were beating advancers 1,611 to 1,133 on 360 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, losers were beating winners 2,130 to 1,411 on 526 million shares.

On the NYSE, 56 issues had set new 52-week highs while 56 had also touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 90 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 98.

On the Big Board,

America Online


was most active, with 19 million shares changing hands. It was up 3 7/16 to 170 5/16.

On the Nasdaq,


(DELL) - Get Report

was most active, with 19 million shares changing hands. It was up 1 1/16, or 2%, to 45 1/16.

Tech Focus


Nasdaq 100

was up fractionally, while the

Morgan Stanley High-Tech 35

was up 1%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was up 2%.



was off 3/4, or 2%, to 30 13/16 as investors were not impressed with the company's launch of the

Compaq Software Store

to sell third-party software titles in a pact with e-tailer

(BYND) - Get Report



(IBM) - Get Report

was lately up 1 5/16, or 1%, to 185 13/16 as it introduced the world's fastest 64-bit, four-way Web server, designed to facilitate e-commerce.



(INTC) - Get Report

was moving higher on news that it will slash prices by between 10% and 20% on April 11 to clear the way for newer processors. Price cuts aren't usually good news, but most companies' don't have

Randall "Tex" Cobb


Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

for sparring partners. Intel was lately up 2 1/4, or 2%, to 129 11/16.

11:08 a.m.: Stocks Turn Mostly Lower

After a brief upswing, stocks proxies were mired in negative territory although (you guessed it) Internet names continue to curry favor.

The natural retracement from

yesterday's record-setting session, plus a profit warning

last night by


(G) - Get Report

, were weighing on major proxies.

Traders said the aforementioned were the biggest cause for the downturn because the catalyst for yesterday's impressive move -- falling interest rates -- was continuing apace.

The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was lately up 14/32 to 95 18/32, its yield falling to 5.56%.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was lately down 36 to 9972 after rising as high as 10,022.87. The

S&P 500

was off 3 to 1318 after climbing as high as 1322.97.

Gillette, down 12%, is not a Dow component, but fellow consumer product giant

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

was the second-biggest negative influence on the index, trailing only

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report



Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 1 to 2561 after rising as high as 2582.37 early on.

Weakness in

MCI WorldCom


, lately down 4%, was weighing most heavily on the Nasdaq.

The Wall Street Journal

reported MCI WorldCom is in "preliminary" talks to acquire

Nextel Communications


, which was up 1%.

Yesterday, you'll recall,

SkyTel Communications


jumped 26% after

Business Week

reported WorldCom could acquire the wireless messaging company. Skytel was lately down 5%.

Big-cap tech favorites such as


(INTC) - Get Report


Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

were preventing a bigger decline for the tech-infused Nasdaq.

In Netland,

America Online


was on the rise again and joined on the upside by fellow net leviathan



. Yahoo! was up 4% on the latest in a seemingly endless series of deals; it will featured on the default Web page on PCs sold by

Micron Electronics



However, both AOL and Yahoo! were retreating from early morning highs and Net proxies were recently mixed. Internet Sector

was up 28 to 711 and building on yesterday's record. Meanwhile, E-Commerce Index

was down 1 to 122.

After yesterday's huge upturn,

AmeriTrade Holding

(AMTD) - Get Report

was down 8% and the biggest drag on the E-Commerce index. But fellow online broker

E*Trade Group


was up another 5%.

In NYSE trading, declining stocks were leading advancers 1,575 to 1,148 on 332 million shares. In

Nasdaq Stock Market

activity, losers were leading 2,119 to 1,376 on 490 million shares.

Trading volume was again lackluster as many players prefer to wait until first quarter earnings season begins in earnest next week before making big bets on individual issues or the market in general. In addition, some players perceived the record-setting gains notched yesterday as a signal to either scale back on positions or retreat to the sidelines.


Aaron L. Task

9:58 a.m.: Stocks Open Slightly Higher

Stocks were slightly higher early on in the wake of

yesterday's record-setting session for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average


S&P 500


Nasdaq Composite Index


The Dow was up 13 to 10,021. The S&P 500 was up 2 to 1323. The Nasdaq Comp was up 6 to 2566. The

Russell 2000

was up fractionally at 402. Internet Sector

index was up 20 to 703. E-Commerce Index

was down fractionally at 123.

The 30-year bond was up 7/32 to 95 12/32, yielding 5.58%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Charles Schwab (SCH) , up 1 5/8 to 105


Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

TCI Music (TUNE) , up 11 5/8 to 20

: The company said it has received a proposal from

Liberty Media

under which Liberty would contribute substantially all of its Internet and interactive television assets, including those held by its wholly owned subsidiary,

Liberty Digital

, to TCI Music in exchange for newly issued shares of TCI Music's Series B common stock.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

America Online (AOL) , down 2 1/16 to 164 7/8


Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

MindSpring (MSPG) , down 5 to 106 1/4



Brian Louis