Updated from 4:15 p.m. EDTTech stocks led a broad-based comeback Monday in New York, as gains in Yahoo! ( YHOO) and Apple ( AAPL) helped the market stabilize after the shellacking last time out. The Nasdaq Composite reversed an early downturn and rose 28.77 points, or 1.06%, to 2753.93. Yahoo! rose 2.8% after the European Commission set a Nov. 13 deadline to examine antitrust concerns that stem from Google's ( GOOG) $3.1 billion bid for the Internet ad tracker DoubleClick. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 115 points early in the session before rebounding. The blue-chip index closed up 44.95 points, or 0.33%, to 13,566.97. Merck ( MRK) and Disney ( DIS) were the best performers, rising 2.9% and 2.6% respectively. The S&P 500 also overcame early losses and advanced 5.70 points, or 0.38%, to 1506.33. "It was a bit of a rocky ride today, but the decent finish gives us a better feel for the overall market," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer with Oaktree Asset Management. "Investors used some of the weakness as a buying opportunity. There were some pockets of strength that helped stabilize the market. "We're not completely out of the woods yet, though," he added. "Stock prices are still readjusting for slower growth." Breadth was slightly positive to start the week. On the New York Stock Exchange 3.35 billion shares changed hands, as advancers topped decliners by a 9-to-7 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.96 billion shares, with winners outpacing losers nearly 3 to 2.
Airlines, retail, and chip stocks were among the best performers of the day, while energy and commodities lost ground. The Amex Airlines Index jumped 2.6%, the S&P Retail Index rose 1.8%, and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector Index added 1%. The Philadelphia Gold & Silver Sector Index dropped 2.4%, and the Amex Oil Index shed 1.3%. On Friday, stocks marked the 20th anniversary of the Black Monday market crash by tumbling hard, thanks to weak earnings from several industrial components. The Dow sank 366.94 points, or 2.64%, to 13,522.02. The S&P 500 was off 39.45 points, or 2.56%, at 1500.63, and the Nasdaq plunged 74.15 points, or 2.65%, to 2725.16. "Going into a weekend, with military unrest in northern Iraq, the buyers simply evaporated," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist with Cantor Fitzgerald. "Now the talk will be about sending up a red flare for the Federal Reserve to rescue the economy with another 50-basis-point cut." Friday's losses on Wall Street bled into overseas markets, as Hong Kong's Hang Seng tanked 3.7% and Japan's Nikkei 225 slid 2.2%. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 and Germany's Xetra Dax lost 1.1%, and the Paris CAC 40 fell 1.4%. Traders turned more optimistic ahead of earnings reports from Apple, Texas Instruments ( TXN) and Dow component American Express ( AXP) after Monday's bell. Apple finished up 2.3% at $174.36, and Texas Instruments was 1% higher at $34.27. American Express slipped by 0.4% to $56.87.
Among those out with earnings before the opening bell, Merck beat third-quarter forecasts as earnings rose 62% from a year ago. The drugmaker also lifted its full-year guidance. On the other hand, Schering-Plough ( SGP) missed Wall Street's targets on an adjusted basis. Merck shares ended 2.9% higher at $54.64, while Schering-Plough tumbled 13.4% to end at $28.34. Late Sunday, Halliburton ( HAL) posted a 19% rise in third-quarter profit, matching the Thomson First Call consensus when an income tax gain was excluded. Halliburton tacked on 48 cents, or 1.2%, to $39.33. Kimberly-Clark ( KMB) said that third-quarter earnings jumped 24% from last year, topping estimates by a penny on a per-share basis. Toymaker Hasbro ( HAS) also topped expectations with its earnings report. Kimberly-Clark added 4.5% to $70.19, but Hasbro shares slipped a penny to $28.40. Away from earnings, Bear Stearns ( BSC) rose $1.44, or 1.2%, to $117.85 after it set a cross-investment deal with China's Citic Securities. Elsewhere, private-equity group KKR and Goldman Sachs ( GS) said they will void an $8 billion offer for Harman International ( HAR), instead electing to invest $400 million in the company. Shares of Harman lost 0.6% to close at $85.87. With no economic releases scheduled, Treasury securities finished mixed after a volatile session. The 10-year note was down 1/32 in price, cutting the yield to 4.40%. The 30-year bond added 6/32 in price, yielding 4.68%. "Investors ran to the comfort of bonds last week, expecting that the Fed would likely cut rates at two of their next three meetings left in the year," said Paul Nolte, director of investments with Hinsdale Associates. "The long bond declined in yield by over 20 basis points, while the 10-year fell nearly 30 basis points." Commodity prices slipped. Crude oil, which topped $90 a barrel last week for the first time, lost $1.04 to close at $87.56 a barrel. Gold and silver futures also finished lower.