Stocks Retreat as Internals Blink Red

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It's been noted more than once (and more than twice) that uncertainty is the enemy of a stock-market rally, and that old saw is being sharpened once again this midday.

With second-quarter earnings reports only dribbling in so far before a torrent begins next week, and with Japan's important upper-house elections looming on Sunday, Wall Streeters aren't willing to be heroes until they know more about the lay of the land.

"People are concerned about Russia and the Japanese election going into the weekend," said Steven Goldman, market strategist at

Weeden

in Greenwich, Conn. Away from Japan, as Goldman noted, a big international focus is Russia's effort to secure up to $15 billion in

International Monetary Fund

aid. "I think the other thing is, the rally is still rather narrow, not filtering out, more or less the same stocks doing well, and we're up 20% on the year," Goldman added.

Around 12:30 p.m. EDT the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 44 to 9046, with

Sears

(S) - Get Report

leading the losers with a decline of 1 7/8 to 57 7/16 as it continues to reel from

yesterday's tepid same-store sales figures.

The broader

S&P 500

continued to pull back from record levels, off 4 to 1154, and the tech-roasted

Nasdaq Composite Index

did the same, shedding 5 to 1935. The small-cap

Russell 2000

was down 2 to 458.

Market internals were biased to the downside again after

yesterday's session ended a long period of positive breadth.

New York Stock Exchange

decliners were leading advancers by 1,692 to 1,012 on 288 million shares, while

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were ahead of winners by 2,144 to 1,546 on 366 million shares.

"There's just a dearth of buyers, light volume and just sort of a general queasy feeling," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at

Interstate/Johnson Lane

in Atlanta. "People question themselves, question their motives, question their rationality. But there's no sky-is-falling panic or syndrome. People are just sort of happy to sit with their positions, and it drifts down when they do that."

Goldman continues to place a great deal of emphasis on the interest-rate situation, with the 30-year Treasury's yield hanging around record lows. Lately the long bond was down 4/32 to 107 10/32, its yield rising to 5.61%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's midday

Key Numbers

.)

"The

earnings numbers haven't been impressive and valuations are quite lofty from any historical perspective, but when you have an environment that fosters investments and one that can still grow given the monetary conditions, that's not an immediate concern," Goldman said. "When you get some tightness in the economy, if you start seeing some strains, valuation will be a grave concern. But right now you've got a salutary effect from Asia."

Friday's Midday Movers

By

Heather Moore
Staff Reporter

Sirrom Capital

(SIR) - Get Report

was down 9 1/8, or 35.9%, to 16 5/16 after

Stephens

cut it to neutral from buy. The company wasn't getting much mileage out of

last night's announcement that it expects to report second-quarter earnings in line with the 10-analyst estimate of 33 cents per share.

Earnings movers

Santa Cruz Operation

(SCOC)

was down 1 7/16, or 29.5%, to 3 1/2 after saying late

yesterday it expects to record a third-quarter loss.

Icon CMT

(ICMT)

was down 3 3/16, or 17.2%, to 15 9/16 after saying late

yesterday that it sees a second-quarter operating loss in the range of 35 cents to 37 cents per share.

Applied Science & Technology

(ASTX)

was down 1 1/4, or 16.7%, to 6 1/4 after saying late

yesterday that it will report a slight fourth-quarter loss and a first-quarter loss between 15 cents and 20 cents per share.

Eagle Point Software

(EGPT) - Get Report

was up 1 1/8, or 13.2%, to 9 5/8 after saying late

yesterday that it expects to post fourth-quarter earnings of 5 cents per share -- above the single-analyst forecast for a break-even quarter -- because of positive industry factors and efforts to reduce expenses.

Vivus

(VVUS) - Get Report

was down 31/32, or 12.7%, to 6 11/16 after late

yesterday announcing a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss.

Dallas Semiconductor

(DS) - Get Report

was up 3 9/16, or 11.6%, to 34 3/16 after late

yesterday beating first-quarter earnings estimates by 3 cents per share.

Fastenal

(FAST) - Get Report

was down 5 3/16, or 10.2%, to 45 9/16 after reporting second-quarter earnings of 37 cents per share, missing the five-analyst estimate by a penny but beating the year-ago 28 cents. The company said that if the

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

strike continues, it could lose $500,000 per month in sales.

Petsmart

(PETM)

was down 1, or 10%, to 9 after saying late

yesterday that it expects to report second-quarter results below estimates.

HealthPlan Services

(HPS) - Get Report

was down 1 9/16, or 8.7%, to 16 3/8 after saying late

yesterday that it expects to report second-quarter earnings below expectations.

Diamond Multimedia

(DIMD)

was down 3/8, or 5.4%, to 6 5/8 after late

yesterday reporting a second-quarter loss.

Biogen

(BGEN)

was up 2 11/16, or 5.2%, 54 3/16 after late

yesterday reporting second-quarter earnings in line with estimates.

In other news:

Kmart

(KM)

was off 1 1/16, or 5.7%, to 17 9/16 despite takeover talk.

Yesterday, the company announced June same-store sales rose 1.5% in a mixed day for retailers.

WavePhore

(WAVO)

, which develops low-cost, high-speed data distribution methods, was up 2 1/8, or 19.4%, to 13 1/8 after

Business Week's

Inside Wall Street column argued that the stock may be one of the few "underappreciated" Internet stocks.

Eltron

(ELTN)

was up 5 5/16, or 19%, to 33 5/16 after

Zebra Technologies

(ZBRA) - Get Report

late

yesterday agreed to acquire the company for $36 per share. Zebra was off 1 to 38 9/16.

Grupo Radio

(RC) - Get Report

agreed to buy a 50% stake in the company for $237 million. Chancellor Media was off 1/4 to 51 29/32.

Adams Golf

(ADGO:Nasdaq) was up 2 5/16, or 14.5%, from its initial price of 16 in its IPO.

Homestead Village

(HSD)

was down 1 7/16, or 10.4%, to 12 3/8 after

Goldman Sachs

lowered it to market perform from the firm's recommend list.

Dollar General

(DG) - Get Report

was up 2 3/8, or 5.6%, to 44 1/2 after

Standard & Poor's

announced late

yesterday that the company will replace

Giant Foods

(GFSA)

in the

S&P 500

after the close on July 15. Giant Foods, which is being acquired by

Royal Ahold

(AHO)

, which will replace Dollar General in the

S&P MidCap 400

, was up 1 1/4 to 45 11/16.