Tech stocks -- you either love 'em or you hate 'em.

Today, they weren't getting much love and when that happens it hurts not only them, but the tech laden

Nasdaq Composite Index. That's not nice, now is it?

The poor, mistreated index started the day out getting some positive attention, but as the day went on yesterday's post-close warning from

National Semiconductor

(NSM)

sneaked into the sentiment. And weighed down on the Nasdaq, despite the fact that it's an

NYSE stock.

The company said that slowing demand may mean its second- and third-quarter earnings will fall below its first-quarter results. Then, this morning, it got smacked with downgrades from

J.P. Morgan

and

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

. The company dragged down the Nasdaq-stock riddled

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

, down 7.4%.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

-- off $1.31, or 3%, to $42 -- is one of stocks on the index and one of the biggest Nasdaq name.

Jack Holden, senior portfolio manager at

Fort Washington Investment Advisors

, said part of the selloff in the second half of the day could be at least partly blamed on a couple of big techs that were reporting after the closing bell, including

Nortel

(NT)

,

Compaq

(CPQ)

and

LSI Logic

(LSI) - Get Report

. The latter was especially garnering attention because of the National Semi warning.

Holden said, "Clearly, today, divergence

between the Comp and the

Dow Jones Industrial Average was really driven by

rotation into value plays." He cited

International Paper's

(IP) - Get Report

bounce, which he said happened because it is considered a traditional value stock.

Such blue-chips as

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

,

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

,

Honeywell

(HON) - Get Report

and

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

also did well today. "It's just the game we're in. When tech does bad, money flows from that to what's safer, cheaper," Holden said.

You want evidence? Just look at

Kimberly-Clark

(KMB) - Get Report

and Dow component

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

, which are typically safe havens. Kimberly jumped $5.06, or 8.6%, to $64, while Procter & Gamble rose $4.06, or 5.8%, to $73.63.

Still, the Dow started to slide about an hour before closing, it pushed its way back up before the closing bell, with most of the help coming from J.P. Morgan, which added almost 40 points. Procter & Gamble was also a big contributor, chipping in 24 positive points.

A rumor in blue-chip land rattled the Dow a bit.

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

took away about 35 points from the index on rumors that the company will preannounce missed earnings.

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

was the only other Dow component with 10 or more negative points.

ExxonMobil's loss was just one of the strange happenings in the market today, said Holden. ExxonMobil beat estimates today, as did a couple other oil stocks, but increased tensions in the Middle East continue to fuel uncertainty about energy prices.

Unlucky star of the day was the most active stock on the Nasdaq --

marchFIRST

(MRCH)

. It fell 60% after

missing third-quarter estimates. In the past 52 weeks, investors have beaten this stock in ways that'd leave the fine folks of Salem, Mass., standing there breathless. At one point, this company, which helps Internet companies develop brands and business models, sat at $81.13, its 52-week-high. It closed today at $4.72.

TST Recommends

Market Internals

Breadth was barely positive on the Big Board, but negative on the Nasdaq. Volume was moderate on both.

New York Stock Exchange: 1,562 advancers, 1,279 decliners, 1.157 billion shares. 49 new 52-week highs, 83 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market: 1,825 advancers, 2,130 decliners, 1.831 billion shares. 65 new highs, 107 new lows.

Back to top

Most Active Stocks

NYSE Most Actives

  • GE: 50 million shares.
  • Lucent (LU) : 28.4 million shares.
  • Honeywell: 26 million shares.

Nasdaq Most Actives

Back to top

Sector Watch

Paper stocks were up in the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Forest & Paper Index

, which rose 7.2%. Components

Bowater

(BOW)

and

Smurfit Stone Container

(SSCC)

reported today. Bowater increased $3.69, or 8.1% to $49.38, after it posted earnings of 96 cents a share, matching the 11-broker consensus but below the year-ago 98 cent profit. Smurfit Stone beat estimates by a penny, but then warned about its fourth quarter. It managed to hop 69 cents, or 6.4%, higher to $11.38.

Financials -- which include brokers, bankers and insurers -- made gains, with the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

up 1.5%, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

about 3% higher, and

S&P Insurance Index

up 2.7%.

Oil stocks sunk today, with the

American Stock Exchange Natural Gas Index

down 3.5% and the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

off 3.3%.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

dropped 3.7%.

Unisys

(UIS) - Get Report

was its only component on the upside.

Back to top

Bonds/Economy

After three days of gains, the bond market has pulled back today. Investors are less motivated to move to safe investments as recent Middle East unrest seems to be easing.

The benchmark 10-year

Treasury note opened lower at 100 27/32, and was down 8/32 to 100 29/32 and yielding 5.627% at press time.

BTM Weekly U.S. Retail Chain Store Sales Index

(

definition |

chart ) fell 0.2% in the week ending October 21 after a 0.5% rise in the previous period.

Back to top

International

European markets moved steadily higher today.

The

FTSE 100

in London was up 122.5 points to 6428.4.

The

CAC 40

in Paris was up 141.4 to 6323.7, while the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was 181.9 higher to 6802.8.

The

euro was lately trading at 0.8356.

The major

Asian equity markets closed higher Tuesday, as technology shares in South Korea and Taiwan jumped, while most Japanese investors remained on the sidelines.

In Tokyo, shares remained under pressure ahead of the release of some big-name earnings. The

Nikkei 225

closed up 50.2, or 0.3%, at 15,148.2.

In Tokyo trading, the dollar slipped 0.62 to 108.33 yen. The greenback was lately trading down to 107.73.

Hong Kong went its own way Tuesday, as the

Hang Seng

index fell 176.4, or 1.2%, to 14,925.9. Internet and telecom company

Pacific Century CyberWorks

(PCW)

tanked 11.5% to HK$5.75 ($0.74) and

China Mobile

(CHL) - Get Report

fell HK$1.50, or 2.9%, to 50.75.

Back to top