Stock proxies slid for a fourth-straight session, but what some feared could turn into a flood of selling proved to be a trickle. It is unclear what, if any, impact news after the close from IBM ( IBM) will have, but Wednesday's session could be considered a victory for the bulls, as the market closed well off session lows. (Big Blue said it will pay $3 billion this year to close a gap in its pension plan rather than its previous plan of paying $4.5 billion over three years.) The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.1% to 8737.71 but well off its intraday low of 8653.38. Similarly, the S&P 500 dipped 0.3% to 917.53 after trading as low as 909.51, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 1.3% to 1430.07 but off its nadir of 1412.90. Early declines were fostered by a series of negative comments about various technology segments by Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, as well as some less-robust-than-hoped economic data. The government reported factory orders rose 1.5% in October, reversing a 2.3% decline in September but a bit weaker than expected. Elsewhere, the Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing index rose to 57.4 in November, well ahead of expectations, while third-quarter productivity was revised upward to 5.1%. However, the ISM data and productivity numbers were insufficient to overcome disappointing outlooks from firms such as Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), Disney ( DIS), Federated ( FD), and J.D. Edwards ( JDEC). Also contributing to the early losses was the sense of foreboding among traders. As discussed here last night, fears of a steep market decline might have contributed to the market's intraday improvement. "They set the hook early in the session," said John Bollinger, founder of BollingerBands.com in Manhattan Beach, Calif. "Sentiment is turning negative, and four down days in a row really started to get everybody's attention."