Dow Watch: Overtime Play

(At 4:14 p.m. EDT)

The market was like a soccer match today, needing an extra 15 minutes before the final whistle. I'm surprised that CNBC didn't run a slogan like "The most important extra 15 minutes of the trading day."

The New York Stock Exchange extended trading in order to execute trade orders impacted by system irregularities, no doubt upsetting anyone packed and ready to leave the office right at 4 p.m. EDT for the Independence Day holiday weekend.

The extra 15 minutes did nothing for the Dow's performance Thursday. The blue-chip average started and ended weak, finishing roughly 220 points lower for the day. Over the holiday-abbreviated week, the Dow lost 1.8%.

Again, all 30 components of the index finished deep in the red, with Alcoa ( AA), Caterpillar ( CAT), The Travelers Group ( TRV), Merck ( MRK), United Technologies ( UTX) and DuPont ( DD) dropping 3.7% or more.

Next week, Alcoa will be the Dow component in the spotlight, as the aluminum giant will unofficially kick off the second-quarter earnings reporting season when it posts results after Wednesday's close. But until then, have a great weekend and a happy Fourth of July. (At 2:30 p.m. EDT)

It hasn't been a pretty day for the bulls, with all 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average trading well into the red.

The disappointing jobs report from the Labor Department has been blamed for the Dow's 175-point drop. But futures were lower even before the 8:30 a.m. EDT release, suggesting that the rise in the U.S. dollar against other currencies had a strong effect on equities.

Volume is equally unimpressive, leading stragglers on Wall Street to wonder "Is it 4 p.m. yet?" ahead of the holiday weekend. Volume dropped about 13% from Tuesday to Wednesday, and Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist with Banyan Partners, pointed out to me that volume is down more than 17% from yesterday to today.

At this rate, we'll be lucky if we top 800 million shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange today. By comparison, volume on the NYSE was 1.17 billion a week ago. On a daily basis, the NYSE is averaging 1.52 billion shares traded per day.

Selling appears to be indiscriminate, even if it is on light volume. Among the worst decliners were financials ( The Travelers Group ( TRV) lost 3.7%), retail ( Home Depot ( HD) was sliding 3.8%), industrials ( Caterpillar ( CAT) slid 3.5%), and metals ( Alcoa ( AA) slumped 3.7%).

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