Surrounded by Trouble, Stocks Drop for the Day, Gain for the Week

Publish date:

A day full of hard-to-handle news knocked equities for a loop, but the major indices managed to finish the week with moderate to solid gains.

Stocks had a lot of factors shoving them backward today, ranging from continuing Asian meltdowns to Iraqi tensions to tech-earnings worries to trade-legislation battles to oh-so-many new jobs. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which bottomed around 2:25 p.m. EST down 195.48 to 7487.76, came back for a loss of 101.92 to 7581.32. Only

Eastman Kodak




(T) - Get Report

moved up, and not by much. For the week, the blue-chip index gained 139.24, or 1.9%.

Over on the tech-stuffed

Nasdaq Composite Index

, a big sentiment indicator wasn't one today:


(INTC) - Get Report

leapt 3 13/16 to 77 5/16 on reactions to an upbeat meeting with analysts. Shorts were squeezed after Intel failed to deliver the earnings warning they were expecting, instead saying its inventory problems are starting to shake out. But the chip behemoth's strong recovery from early nervousness -- also sparked in part by positive comments from

Banc America Robertson Stephens

-- did


for the rest of the Comp, which plunged 21.04 to 1602.40 (up 8.79, or 0.6%, on the week). Disk-drive stocks did a lot of the damage off a second-quarter earnings warning from

Western Digital

(WDC) - Get Report

, which plummeted 6 3/8, or 21.1%, to 23 7/8.

As for other major indices, the broad

S&P 500

fell 10.52 to 927.51 (up 12.89, or 1.4%, on the week) and the small-cap

Russell 2000

gave up 7.61 to 435.22 (up 1.96, or 0.5%, on the week).

Edward Collins, head trader at

Daiwa Securities

, said he wasn't surprised at the absence of serious buying pressure in what he called an orderly selloff. "I can't imagine anybody wanting to buy anything before the weekend, with all the stuff that's going on," he said. The

House of Representatives

postponed its likely negative vote on the big-business-friendly fast-track trade bill until the weekend, and who knows what mischief that wacky

Saddam Hussein

will get into before Monday?

Also heavy on marketeers' minds is the robust October

employment report

, which showed an unemployment rate of 4.7% and 284,000 new nonfarm jobs. The consensus forecast called for 4.8% and 202,000. "It would appear to me that there are some inflationary pressures for the first time in a long time," Collins said -- adding that those pressures aren't of immediate domestic concern. "While the

Bank of England

raised rates the other day and Germany did before, I would think with what's going on in Southeast Asia,

Fed Chairman Alan


wouldn't want to raise rates because of what it might do to their economies."

Rao Chalasani, chief investment strategist at

Everen Securities

in Chicago, said he is most concerned about the health of the Japanese economy. The

Nikkei 225

index dropped 4.2% overnight on concerns about Japanese financial institutions and the continued devaluation of the Korean currency. "They're the second-largest economy," he said of Japan, "and if the stock market is portending that they're going into a recession, it could be a problem."

U.S. equity volume picked up slightly from yesterday, but trading was harshly negative.

New York Stock Exchange

decliners swamped advancers by 2,396 to 533 on 570 million shares. New Big Board lows beat new highs by 60 to 32. On the Nasdaq, 3,334 decliners bashed 1,222 advancers on 687.3 million shares. New Nasdaq lows led new highs by 111 to 64.

Friday's market action

(earnings estimates from

First Call


As noted, Intel's good news was mainly confined to Intel. Others were battered by worries about the Asian market, with

TriQuint Semiconductor


down 1 7/8 to 26 1/8,

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

down 4 3/4 to 112 3/4,


(CYRX) - Get Report

down 1 to 28 5/8 and

National Semiconductor


down 1 1/4 to 34 7/8. Semiconductor equipment was no safe haven, with

PRI Automation


down 3 3/8 to 42 5/8,


(KLAC) - Get Report

down 3 5/8 to 45 5/8,


(TER) - Get Report

down 2 7/16 to 38 11/16 and

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

down 1 1/8 to 35 3/16.

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

joined Intel in the win column, gaining 11/16 to 22 9/16.

As also noted above, disk-drive stocks were demolished by Western Digital's forecast of second-quarter earnings of 20 cents to 30 cents per share. The 15-analyst consensus estimate was 84 cents versus the year-ago 68 cents.



was crushed 5 7/16, or 15.3%, to 30 3/16,



lost 2, or 9.5%, to 19 3/16 and



lost 1 9/16, or 5.6%, to 26 1/4.

There were no bright spots among PC makers, either.


(DELL) - Get Report

fell 2 3/8 to 78 9/16,



fell 1 11/16 to 61 15/16,

Gateway 2000


fell 11/16 to 28 1/8,



fell 1 3/16 to 64 1/4 and


(IBM) - Get Report

fell 1 9/16 to 99 1/2.

Quality Food Centers


hopped 6 7/8, or 13.3%, to 58 1/2 after

Fred Meyer

(FMY) - Get Report

agreed to buy it in a $1.7 billion stock deal. Fred Meyer also agreed to buy privately held

Ralphs Grocery

from its parent,

Food 4 Less

, for $3.1 billion. FMY added 1 1/4 to an all-time high of 32 3/16.


jumped 2 1/4, or 11.8%, to 21 1/2 after reporting late

yesterday fourth-quarter earnings 2 cents per share ahead of expectations.



slumped 2 13/16 to 38 1/8 after Banc America Robertson Stephens downgraded it to long-term attractive from buy. Other networkers struggled as well, with


(ASND) - Get Report

down 11/16 to a two-year low of 24 1/8,


(CSCO) - Get Report

down 1 3/16 to 83 9/16,

Bay Networks

down 7/8 to 32 7/8,

Cabletron Systems

(CS) - Get Report

down 1/2 to 28 1/2 and

Fore Systems


down 5/16 to 16 3/4.

Newbridge Networks


eked out a gain of 3/8 to 45 9/16.

Bank stocks finished lower, but off their worst levels of the session.


(BAC) - Get Report

lost 2 9/16 to 73 3/8,



lost 2 5/8 to 117 7/16,


(CCI) - Get Report

lost 2 3/4 to 129 1/8 and Dow component

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

lost 15/16 to 114 3/4.

The concerns over heightened tensions in the Middle East damaged oil-service and drilling stocks, sending

Cliffs Drilling


down 2 1/16 to 76,

Diamond Offshore

(DO) - Get Report

down 1 9/16 to 64 1/16,


(SLB) - Get Report

down 2 3/4 to 90 1/4 and

Transocean Offshore

(RIG) - Get Report

down 9/16 to 57 11/16.



advanced 7/8 to 12 3/4 on the news late

yesterday that it inked a content- and revenue-sharing pact with


(MSFT) - Get Report

. Other Internet-search companies declined, with



down 3 1/4 to 49 1/2,



down 2 to 29 1/4 and



down 1 1/8 to 27 3/8.

Japanese ADRs reflected the blows absorbed by their underlying issues on the Nikkei.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi


fell 1 5/8, or 3%, to 52 3/8.

Brazilian stocks took a pounding as the


index fell 6.4%. Bellwether



lost 4 to 55 1/2. Why Whirlpool, you ask? The company today completed the purchase of 33% of its Brazilian partner,




(ITT) - Get Report

moved up 11/16 to 80 5/16 after

Starwood Lodging Trust


boosted its bid for its former white-knight rescuee to $85 per share, or $10.2 billion. The old bid was $82 per share, or $9.8 billion. Starwood tumbled 1 to 57 13/16.


(HLT) - Get Report

, which has a differently structured bid of $80 per share, or $9.3 billion, on the table, slipped 1/8 to 31 1/2. (

took a look into the nasty rhetoric flying around the deal in a

story yesterday.)

WinStar Communications


bounded 3 3/8, or 13.5%, to 28 5/16 after

NationsBanc Montgomery Securities

said the company stands to benefit from a forthcoming

Federal Communications Commission

report. The firm reiterated a buy rating and upped its price target on WinStar to 60 from 41.

STAR Telecommunications


ascended 2 5/8, or 11.9%, to 24 5/8 after reporting late yesterday third-quarter earnings of 9 cents per share. That was 2 cents ahead of the three-analyst view and up from the year-ago 2 cents.

BT Alex. Brown

upgraded the stock to strong buy from buy.


(ABMD) - Get Report

ran up 2, or 11.8%, to 19 1/4 after announcing late yesterday the withdrawal of a planned secondary offering. The company cited market volatility.


(KNL) - Get Report

gained 1 7/16 to 28 1/4 after withdrawing a registration statement for the sale of 5.75 million shares by existing shareholders. The company cited unfavorable market conditions.



added 13/16, or 9.1%, to 9 3/4 after reporting late

yesterday third-quarter earnings in line with expectations.

SBC Warburg Dillon Read

upgraded Sitel to outperform from neutral.

Atrix Laboratories


declined 1 1/2, or 7.9%, to 17 1/2 after losing its licensing agreement for development of a prostate cancer drug with

Gensia Sicor


. Gensia dropped 3/8 to 5 3/8.