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Maybe the market was warming up to the idea of actually celebrating its 10th anniversary as a bull market.

And while,

tin and aluminum are the designated gifts to mark a decade together (ick -- tin?), it looked like semiconductors were the presents to put the

Nasdaq Composite Index in a much better mood. However, by the end of the day, the Comp ended well lower, just a few ticks away from its year low of 3164.55.


Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly managed to cross over the break-even line, but succumbed to the downward pull that's sucked down the market today.

Peter Cardillo, chief strategist at

Westfalia Investments

said, "it looks like the markets are in rallying mode after touching around the 3100 level, and, as a result of that, buyers are coming in and bargain hunting."


Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

bounced early, but ended unchanged. The sector had the albatross of






yesterday. Both were downgraded on fears of lower demand in the chip sector and were the most actively traded stocks on the Nasdaq. Today, investors were showing interest once again. Both Altera and Xilinx ended in positive territory, but the rest of the components just weren't doing enough.

Applied Materials



Linear Technology





all ended higher today.

He said that






-- both trading near $22 -- are now at an attractive price to many buyers.

Still, Cardillo said that although we might be near a bottom, nothing's really changed.

For days, investors and traders were holding out hope for positive earnings news from



and Motorola. And even though the companies delivered, Yahoo! indicated that its

sales were slowing and Motorola lowered its

earnings expectations through 2001, which spooked investors. What helped tip the scales was



third earnings warning this year. wrote about

Lucent's bad news in an earlier story. Yahoo! fell 20.9%. Motorola was 18.1% lower. And Lucent lost almost one third of its value.

Big-cap tech stocks fell in sympathy. But



struggled (and failed) to get over the break-even line, while



ended 0.1% higher.

And the Dow failed to shrug off weakness in tech stocks.



was managing to stay on the positive side and was up 2.2%.

"If Microsoft takes the lead here, it will be very encouraging," Cardillo said.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter


, rumored to have seen losses in its

junk-bond trading unit last week, bounced back today, up 4.4% to $77.75. The

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

was up 0.5%.

Lehman Brothers


was also slightly higher.

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Market Internals

Breadth was terrible on heavy volume.

New York Stock Exchange: 895 advancers, 1,984 decliners, 1.387 billion shares. 40 new 52-week highs, 194 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market: 1,236 advancers, 2,793 decliners, 2.147 billion shares. 20 new highs, 501 new lows.

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Most Active Stocks

NYSE Most Actives

  • Lucent: 100.6 million shares.
  • Motorola: 72 million shares.
  • Texas Instruments (TXN) : 27.4 million shares.

Nasdaq Most Actives

  • Intel: 118.8 million shares.
  • Cisco: 91.6 million shares.
  • Microsoft: 48.7 million shares.

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Sector Watch

Money was going into drugs and paper -- hmmm. Energy stocks also were getting some lift, but retailers were tanking.


American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

rose 0.5%, with



leading the way.


Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Products Index

hopped 1.9%.

Energy stocks continued their recent rally on the back of soaring oil prices. Oil has now retraced nearly half of the 18% decline it had from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28. The

American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

was up 0.3%, the

American Stock Exchange Natural Gas Index

was 1.5% higher and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was up 0.8%.

Retail stocks weren't having any fun after



warned this morning that its earnings would not make estimates due to softer-than-expected sales and bigger-than-planned markdowns. Investors were concerned that a slowdown in consumer demand and (warning -- here comes another "blame the weather" excuse) a mild summer would have hurt retail sales. But retail stocks have been in the dumps pretty much all year. The

S&P Retail Index

was off 1.8%. Components







J.C. Penney


were down in sympathy.

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The Treasury market is mixed today on little news.

Intermediate-maturity issues are benefiting from declining stock prices. But the 30-year bond is lower in reaction to the latest rise in oil prices because of the potential for higher energy prices to push the overall inflation rate higher.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note lately was up 5/32 at 99 25/32, dropping its yield to 5.778%.

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The Nasdaq's morning slide killed

European stocks , which racked up triple-digit losses.


FTSE 100

fell 130.10 to 6117.60.


CAC 40

in Paris dropped 187.18 to 5956.12, while the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt tumbled 171.20 to 6501.95.

The euro was lately trading at 0.8690. In the past week, the euro has been eking out some meager gains, but it basically remains in the dumps.

The major

Asian equity markets got slammed Wednesday as investors fled technology shares after semiconductor stocks plummeted in the U.S. on Tuesday.

In Japan, the

Nikkei 225

closed down 314.2, or 2%, at 15,513.6.

In Tokyo trading, the dollar traded down to 107.86 yen from 108.51. The greenback was lately trading at 107.59.

Elsewhere, Taiwan's


index fell 168.9, or 2.7%, to 6040.6, after investors returned from a holiday Tuesday. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index fell 427.1, or 2.8%, to 15,127.0. Index leviathan

China Mobile


continued a massive three-day losing streak, falling HK$2.00, or 3.6%, to 53.50 ($6.86).

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