Today's Market: Nasdaq Loses 86 to 2472; Ends Its Worst Year Ever -- Down 39.3% - TheStreet

With a whiteout on the horizon and a blackout on the news front, American markets ended lower. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 92 to 10,776, while the

Nasdaq Composite Index was off 86 to 2471.

Mush along the doggies. Tally up that Christmas bill. Wall Street is a ghost town this afternoon, even worse than it was this morning, as traders and everyone else try to get out of Dodge before a blizzard makes travel impossible.

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

, for example, which has been something of a hothead lately, was initially scorching away from the pack. Over the past six trading sessions, this stock has gone up from $90 to $144, including a 30-point post-Christmas bonanza that even got our own

Jim Cramer talking. (Then again, what doesn't get Cramer talking?)

But lately it was lower by $5.69, or 6.2%, to $130. It has been one of the most-watched Nasdaq movers today after opening at $144.

On the large-cap technology front, the sellers were still out there. Foolish people have been talking about window-dressing and end-of-the-year tax selling, but honestly, the window for getting a tax loss in 2000 is over and when the cupboard is bare who the heck cares about the windows?

"Hi. We're a collection of some of the most widely held stocks. We're all big losers today!"

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

,

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

,

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

,

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

were all lower.

So were

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

,

WorldCom

(WCOM)

,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

,

Biogen

(BGEN)

and

Protein Design Labs

(PDLI) - Get Report

.

Are you seeing a pattern yet?

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index coughed up close to 75% of its value this year. At one point, it traded above the 1,100 level -- and today it was down 4.5% to 297. That's more than just painful -- that's

Celine Dion

live at the Apollo. It's a horrifying spectacle that makes eyes bleed.

And as

America Online's

(AOL)

merger with

Time Warner

(TWX)

continues down the rocky road to acceptance, the rest of the Internet names were taking a dive. AOL was off 3.9%, while Warner fell 3.8%.

After clearing the first government hurdle, getting acceptance from the

Federal Trade Commission

, the combined companies were facing down the

Federal Communications Commission

. The FCC controls communications -- even new kinds -- despite the fact that most people know it as nothing more than

Howard Stern's

frequent nemesis. And this role means that the FCC is concerned about a would-be monopoly on communications -- especially the highly-popular

Instant Messenger

market, where AOL has a big lead on rivals Microsoft and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

.

And speaking of Yahoo!, it was sliding yet again. That said, so was

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

. Jeff Bezos' seller of more-than-just books was dipping 3.4%. This caps a very bad year -- one that opened with high hopes, a slate of oddball Christmas commercials and the unveiling of z-Shops, Amazon.com's foray into selling more than hardcovers.

Blech. Blech. Blech. The blue-chips have been playing hop-scotch on both sides of the flatline and were lately ever-so-slightly in the red again. There were few movers in excess of a buck. The losers were led by easing in

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

, which spent yesterday pushing the Dow higher.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

, which shrugged off a revenue estimate cut from

Prudential Securities

yesterday, continued to shrug this morning, though it had lately turned down by 31 cents.

Retailers were stronger, with

Home Depot

and

Wal-Mart

doing well. Just not well enough to offset the losers.

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Market Internals

Breadth is mixed on light volume.

New York Stock Exchange: 1,530 advancers, 1,346 decliners, 655 million shares. 270 new 52-week highs, 32 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market: 1,739 advancers, 2,240 decliners, 1.589 billion shares. 109 new highs, 224 new lows.

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Most Active Stocks

NYSE Most Actives

  • Lucent Technologies (LU) : 35 million shares.
  • AT&T (T) - Get Report: 24.5 million shares.
  • America Online (AOL) : 21.3 million shares.

Nasdaq Most Actives

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Sector Watch

After yesterday's valiant, yet failed, attempt to rally, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

slid 3.6% today.

Like the aforementioned dip in

TheStreet.com's

Internet index, the other tech sectors weren't much better. The

American Stock Exchange Networking Index

fell 1.8%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Box Maker Index

fell 1.8%.

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Bonds/Economy

Treasury notes and bonds are higher on the last trading day of year. With the money market due to shut down shop by early afternoon, investors are aligning any awry positions before returning on Tuesday for what is expected to be an eventful January. Manufacturing data came in mixed but mostly in tune with less-than-robust factory outputs. Yields were close to the lows last recorded in mid-1999.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note lately was up 3/32 to 104 26/32, lowering its yield to 5.112%.

In economic news, the

Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index

(

definition |

chart ), the day's most relevant report, rose higher than expected, to 44.7 for December from 41.7 the previous month. Economists polled by

Reuters

had predicted a reading of 43 for the month. In the larger context however, it remains the index's third consecutive reading under 50 and the fourth so in the last six months. Readings under 50 indicate a contraction in industrial production, while readings over 50 indicate an expansion.

The

APICS Business Outlook Index

(

definition |

chart |

source

) for December fell to 45.7 from its annual high of 54.9 in November. This national manufacturing index represents a survey of manufacturing firms and signals a factory sector expansion when it is above 50 and a contraction when below it.

This is the business outlook index's lowest reading since June. The gauge showed a decline in almost all of its major components. The

durable goods orders

(

definition |

chart |

source

) excluding aircraft and defense dropped again, unfilled orders slipped, and current and planned production were down sharply.

Finally, the

Help-Wanted Index

(

definition |

chart |

source

) dropped to 75 in November from 79 in October, suggesting a loosening labor market.

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International

The yen ended the year with its first annual decline in three years, on concern that Japan is headed toward a recession.

Japan's currency has risen slightly today, however, after dropping to a 16-month low yesterday of 114.64. At midday the dollar/yen cross was trading at 114.45. The euro was recently quoted higher on the day at $0.9365. The European Currency Project has surged 12% since sinking to an all-time scare of $0.8231 on Oct. 26.

Germany was kicking some butt, while the Frenchies closed higher for the day. So scream out

Mannesmann

and do something French! Paris'

CAC-40

closed up 5.82 to 5926.42 and Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

was up 61.97 to 6433.61.

London's

FTSE 100

ended a rotten year with a loss of 0.7 to 6222.5. Today's disappointing dip came despite a run-up in

Vodafone

.

Asian markets have gone to bed for the year. And these guys certainly need some rest. If you think the whirlwind of hate unleashed on technology was bad in the States, just take a short 15-hour flight to the land of the rising sun, or rather, land of the obliterated stock price.

Just last week, the

Nikkei 225

turned the clock back to 1998, broke below the psychologically important 14,000 level while hitting two-year lows as investors beat stocks with the same shovel used to dig the grave. Today, the Nikkei 225 closed off 161.97 to 13,785.69. Naturally, technology stocks were the primary reason for the fall.

The Hong Kong

Hang Seng

, which is almost as much fun to say 10 times fast as it is to watch trade, rose 298.98 at 15,095.53.

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