Wall Street still will be smarting when it gets into the office Monday morning. And wondering how things went from seeming so right to so wrong so fast.
, which announced the departure of its COO Tuesday, and then posted second-quarter revenue that wasn't up to snuff on Wednesday. A slew of downgrades followed, and with the e-commerce emperor looking naked, dot-coms of all stripes fell.
Then there was
. The Finnish mobile-phone maker posted solid second-quarter results Thursday, but warned that the third quarter would not be as strong. That hurt not just the wireless sector, but shares of semiconductor companies, which make the chips that go into the mobile phones. Moreover, if a company in a hot sector such as Nokia's is seeing slowing growth, investors worried about what other areas of tech may be seeing.
And then there was Friday. Investors had pretty much taken it for granted that the
Federal Open Market Committee would leave rates unchanged when it meets Aug. 22, but the advance second-quarter
Gross Domestic Product
report changed that. Showing 5.2% growth, GDP was significantly stronger than expected. One more strong economic report and the odds could tip in favor of
Alan Greenspan and his merry band tightening next month.
Meantime, the market's technical picture got scary, particularly on the
Nasdaq Composite. The Comp slipped through its 200-day moving average Thursday, and investor confidence just crumbled.
"I'm not a chartist, nor have I ever been a chartist, but it's very classic here," said Stanley Nabi, vice chairman at
DLJ Asset Management
, of the Nasdaq. "The recovery was precisely what the chartists say, coming back 50% to 60%. Now it must test the previous low."
The previous low is another 600 points below here, at 3042.
But let's be clear here. Nabi's dourness on tech prospects belies his investing style. "I am at the extreme right of value investing," he said -- and his view on the sector is anything but consensus. Even so, many money managers think that tech, and the market in general, has a bit of a slog ahead of it.
More Work to Do
"Very similar to 1994, the next five months are going to be pretty lethargic," said Gary Kaminsky, managing director of the asset management group at
Neuberger & Berman
That's not an environment that's very good for trading in, he believes. Rather, it is the time for making investments, picking solid stocks of solid companies and sticking with them. "You clearly want to be making investments now for 12 months out," he said. "It's impossible in my mind to think any shorter than that."
It's hard to make investments into the teeth of a market that is suddenly worried about the future, though. "There's a lot of short-term uncertainty regarding interest rates," Kaminsky allowed. "Whereas the picture seemed clear two weeks ago, it's getting blurry again."
As a result, investors will spend much of the coming week trying to handicap the July
, due out on Friday. Strong, and it could put the
Fed over the edge.
"We haven't had any numbers that are going to force the Fed's hands," said Mike Cloherty, senior market economist at
Credit Suisse First Boston
. "We haven't had that piece of data that is enough to do that, but we've had a string of data strong enough to keep them a bit nervous."
Cloherty reckons the employment report will come in OK, "but you're at the point where if you got an upside surprise, that could trigger a response from the Fed."