Glance at the sector proxies at midday and you'd get a pretty unambiguous notion of where the market was: down. But you'd miss the much more interesting story of where the market had been.
In particular, the spastic perambulations of the
Nasdaq Composite Index
today are worth noting. The Comp opened at 4125, nearly 30 points above its Monday close. But within 20 minutes, it had swung down more than 80 points to 4042, about 54 points below break-even. Another 20 minutes after that, it had made the 80-point trip back north, coming within a hair of its opening high.
The Nasdaq's travails since then -- a low of 4080 and a high of 4121 -- have been calm by comparison. Everybody's favorite tech proxy lately was down 16 to 4080, despite gains in
The other proxies were lower, too. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 59 to 10,950, while the broader
was up 4 to 1398.
The market is becoming well accustomed to this sort of
volatility. After all, the Nasdaq has been
intraday ranges of more than 100 points for the past month. And with trading volume and market valuations at unprecedented levels, there's little sign that trend will stop, especially with tech at the helm.
"I wouldn't hold my breath," said Barry Hyman, chief market strategist at
Ehrenkrantz King Nussbaum
. "When the day comes that tech has had its run, the market will have its problems. Money isn't going to flow toward stocks like
. That money is going to leave the market."
Proceed with caution. The talk on trading desks today was that momentum investors are in the crosshairs as long as the whipsaw keeps its edge.
"You've just got to pare back your risk," said one trader. "And you have to know what you're doing. It's a very positive market for those who know their companies well, and very negative for people think they're just going to get in here and make a ton of money, the day traders. Those types are going to get bludgeoned.
"And that's great. I'd love to see it. Because sooner or later, we'll have to shake some of these people out of the market."
Individual stocks were moving along with earnings news.
was up 5.6% after reporting a
blowout quarter. Dow component
, meanwhile, was reacting more modestly to its own
upside report, up 0.3%.
Day traders 'are going to get bludgeoned,' one trader said. 'And that's great. I'd love to see it.'
was up 2.7 on strong earnings, igniting the rest of the semiconductor sector.
was up 0.8%;
was 1.8% higher;
had gained 3.7%.
The bond market was moving only modestly higher, with the 30-year Treasury up 13/32 to 93 21/32, putting its yield at 6.62%. The 10-year note, meanwhile, was up 3/32 to 95 9/32 and yielding a more attractive 6.68%. (For more on the fixed-income market, see today's
"It's almost unanimous that rates are going higher," said Hyman. "Substantially higher. To use the excuse that the market is reacting to rates -- what else is new?
"We're not at the bottom," he continued, "we're at the top. We should be asking where it peaks. My clue is around 6.75%. And I think the surprise down the road will be the rally in the bond market we get in the second quarter."
That sentiment may have been helping bank stocks, which were gathering momentum. Dow components
each were solidly in the black.
Small-cap and Internet shares were mixed.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was down 12 to 1116, and the
was off 5 to 518.
S&P 500 Changes Move Stocks -- Tell Us Who's Next
were each soaring on news that they will join the S&P 500 after the close of regular trading Friday, replacing
Biogen was up 9.8%, while the Hog had moved 5.8% higher. Fleetwood was down 7.1% and Foster Wheeler was off 12.9%.
Who might be next to zoom into the index? Let us know by choosing one of the top five stocks, by market cap, that are eligible for the S&P but are not currently in it. Or submit your own nomination on our
Who do you think will be next?
Veritas Software (VRTS:Nasdaq)
Level 3 Communications (LVLT:Nasdaq)
Cox Communications (COX:NYSE)
Qwest Communications (Q:NYSE)
JDS Uniphase (JDSU:Nasdaq)
Breadth was solidly negative on strong volume.
New York Stock Exchange: 1,102 advancers, 1,751 decliners, 636 million shares. 25 new 52-week highs, 139 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market: 1,726 advancers, 2,220 decliners, 1.05 billion shares. 116 new highs, 71 new lows.
For a look at stocks in the midsession news, see Midday Movers, published separately.