Don't you feel a lot better now that all the big money boys have come back to the market after their summers at the beach?

We had only four days to the week and that was quite enough. As the following pictures show, it wasn't pretty. One up day, Thursday -- and three downers. Friday was the worst as investors, fearful of an economic slowdown and profit warnings ahead, sold stocks down.



had the feel of an index seeking to test a few lows as it broke below its 50-day moving average for the first time since early August. That is a short-term worry.

Ending the Week With a Thud

Even the

S&P 500

, which has been pretty firm since the beginning of June and strong in August, slipped. Not a good sign.

It Wasn't Just Tech Getting Hit

And the Dow briefly touched the high of mid-April but could not hold. If this were a short-term bull move, wouldn't the Dow have grabbed that April high and pulled itself higher?

Big Business Got Slapped, Too

The most hopeful news of the week was the strength in the banks, the brokerages, the insurers and the retailers. Rarely does the market roll over completely when these interest-rate sensitive companies rally. Bull markets die from higher interest rates and recession, and those twin dogs of woe are not yet on the horizon.

Banks Break Out

Retailers Rally

Of course, these are the groups that have, throughout the year, tended to rally when tech tanked.

If there are two interest-rate sensitive sectors that look particularly primed to go higher, they are the utilities and the REITs. Confused traders seemed to like hiding out in these holes this week.

Ain't Utility Deregulation Wonderful?

Oil company stocks didn't do much of anything except gyrate in advance of next week's

TST Recommends


meeting. Can oil prices go higher? Sure, but you have to wonder whether OPEC really wants to tip the global economy into recession.

The Majors Went Minor

And then there were techs. On Tuesday,

US Bancorp Piper Jaffray

analyst Ashok Kumar warned of slowing chip sales at


(INTC) - Get Report


Intel Out?

On Wednesday

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

analyst Boris Petersik cut his investment rating for

Micron Technology

(MU) - Get Report


Micron Goes Microscopic

So what does all this portend near term? These earnings preannouncements -- i.e., warnings -- are just beginning to pick up steam. If one company in a sector slips up and misses expectations, the entire sector will get slammed. The whole game of predicting quarterly earnings to the penny is inherently ludicrous if you ask any CEO or CFO privately. But they've lived off that game for a long time now. We all know what happens when they miss.

Brett Fromson writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in He invites you to send your feedback to