Buyers came back with a bang today, as a combination of good earnings news, window dressing and flat-out frustration with all the capitulation sent stocks flying.


Dow Jones Industrial Average and the

Nasdaq Composite Index ended the day sporting triple digit gains as both attempted to recoup some of what they've lost in the past few sessions. The Dow was up 196 to 10,824, after losing 2% in the past three trading session. The Comp was up 122 to 3778, though it has a higher bar to pass considering it shed 6.2% since last Wednesday.

"I think it might be a precursor of things to come. People want to step in and buy stock, they just need a leader. Everybody wants to buy, they just don't want to be the first," said Adam Wagner, president of

Wagner Hermann & Herbst

in Houston.

Others are not convinced today's action was anything more than a bounce after the market took beating in the past week.

Tomorrow, this all may be tested, of course. After the closing bell tonight, boxmaker


(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report

warned that its fiscal fourth-quarter results will be sharply lower-than-expected. Analysts had been expecting the company to report earnings of 45 cents a share, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial

. Instead, the company said, its quarterly results will most likely come in between 30 and 33 cents a share.

"I'm really hard-pressed to say the worst is over. It's hard to garner direction after one day," said Bryan Piskorowski, market analyst at

Prudential Securities

. There is "some value hunting. A lot of money is sitting on the sidelines and some is being put to work today." Still, he was not exactly disappointed with today's upside action. "You take a win when you can get it, and for now, we've got a win," he said.

The day started off with some crosscurrents in the networking sector, as analysts engaged in a little sandbox game of


over tech heavyweights





(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report


Sanford Bernstein

penned a negative note on the networking bellwethers and cut both stocks to market perform from outperform.

Merrill Lynch

countered the note by reiterating its buy ratings on both stocks. For the

blow-by-blow of the different firms' impressions about the stocks, take a look at our earlier story. In the end, both stocks came out looking the better for the wear, with Cisco climbing $2 to $59.31 and Nortel racking up $3.50, or 5.9%, to $63.13.

The same could not be said for some fiber-optic stocks, which wound up getting squeezed.


(GLW) - Get Corning Inc Report

lost $4 to $306.

Reaping the Benefits

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report

was lapping up a lot of the credit for the good vibes pervading the market, and the Dow in particular.

The consumer product giant accounted for just under 30 points of the Dow's gains, after new CEO A.J. Lafley told securities analysts in New York he sees EPS growth of 7% to 10%, with double-digit earnings possible year over year. The stock popped $5.25, or 8.5%, to $67. Investors welcomed the news with open arms after the company's

turbulent year.

Meanwhile, another recently battered Dow component,

Eastman Kodak


, was still suffering under the weight of an earnings

warning earlier this week.

The Internet sector also made a comeback today after

J.P. Morgan

made positive comments on it. The firm said yesterday's selloff was unwarranted. Internet stocks had a lousy session yesterday after


warned of an earnings miss. priceline shares came back today, rising $1.13, or 10.5%, to $11.88.

Morgan was bullish on

America Online




(EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report




. Yahoo! was yucking it up $5.31, or 5.9%, to $95.69 after taking it on the chin yesterday.

Despite caution about the sustainability of today's action, Piskorowski did point out that he likes the action in the

S&P 500 as it has tried to back and fill over the last couple of weeks. Summing up the volatile moves in the past month, he said "The one trend this September is that there hasn't been one. There was a lot of restless rotation."

As for the earnings season ahead, Wagner said he "doesn't expect an overwhelmingly bad earnings season. I'm still just watching individual issues. I don't like to give a blanket pass to any stock."

Wagner says his firm recommends a hedging strategy to clients, given the market's tendency to clip millions of dollars off a stock's market capitalization on the slightest hint of bad news or even failure to exceed expectations.

"You still have some of the psychology left over from this time last year," when companies were posting significantly higher earnings, he said. For some investors, solid growth when compared with last year's stellar growth may seem disappointing.

Market Internals

Breadth was positive on the Big Board and the Comp.

New York Stock Exchange: 1,878 advancers, 958 decliners, 1.2 billion shares. 141 new 52-week highs, 70 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market: 2,598 advancers, 1,391 decliners, 1.95 billion shares. 117 new highs, 232 new lows.

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Most Active Stocks

NYSE Most Actives

  • Lucent (LU) : 36 million shares.
  • Nortel: 30.2 million shares.
  • Motorola (MOT) : 18.2 million shares.

Nasdaq Most Actives

Sector Watch

Green was all over the screen today. Financials, tobacco, biotech and boxmakers all bounced higher.

Financials were strong, with the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

up 3.5% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

2.7% higher.

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report


Morgan Stanley Dean Witter


were two of the biggest boosters in the broker sector, while

Bank of New York

(BK) - Get Bank of New York Mellon Corporation Report


State Street Bank

(STT) - Get State Street Corporation Report

buoying banks.

A mixed bag of winners in tobacco shares lifted the

American Stock Exchange Tobacco Index

4.2%. The

Nasdaq Biotechnology Index

was up 3.2% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

rose 4.2%.

Energy stocks gave up some gains. The

American Stock Exchange Oil & Gas Index

lost 1.1% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

slipped 0.2%.

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Treasuries were narrowly mixed despite upward revisions to the

Consumer Price Index


definition |

chart |


), which were forecast



Bureau of Labor Statistics

this morning announced that in each month from January to August, the CPI was 0.1 higher than originally reported, except in May and July, when it was higher by 0.2. From January to August, prices rose 3.5%, revised from 3.4%, and the core prices, which exclude food and energy prices, rose 2.7%, revised from 2.6%, the BLS said.

The BLS revised the CPI after discovering that a software error had resulted in miscalculations.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 2/32 to 99 18/32 to 5.81%.

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Most major European markets sunk at the end of the day, slipping under the weight of weakness in tech and telecom. Defensives and financials were getting some play, however, as investors looked for a refuge for their cash.

In London, the

FTSE 100

ended the day off its lows, but still on the downside. It was off 5.20 to 6264.10.

Across the channel, the

CAC 40

in Paris was off 8.76 to 6311.03, and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt rose 18.7 to 6832.76.

The euro traded at 0.8778.

Asian markets finished modestly lower overnight.

Local fund managers scooped up selected technology shares early in the day, but the market slumped anyway.


Nikkei 225

index shed 12.99, to 15,626.96, marking a fresh 18-month low.

With every currency dealer waiting to see if Denmark accepts the euro or not, not much happened in the foreign exchange market. The dollar edged slightly lower against the yen to fetch 107.51 in Tokyo trading. The greenback was traded at 107.63 yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index nudged 28.38 lower to 15,415.75, as traders seemed reluctant to make large trades before several large property and telecom firms announced their fiscal first-half results, which was due after the market closed.

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