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Stocks Battle Back From Steep Losses

Stocks battled back from a steep decline on Wednesday, as the market found its first buyers this week.

The ISDEX http://www.wsrn.com/apps/ISDEX/ slipped 2 to 123, and the Nasdaq fell 27 to 1527. The S&P 500 lost 16 to 1016, and the Dow dropped 144 to 8759. Volume rose to 2.1 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.4 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 24 to 7 on the NYSE, and 26 to 12 on the Nasdaq. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar at http://www.wsrn.com/apps/earnings/internet.xpl and reported earnings at http://www.wsrn.com/apps/earnings/ireported.xpl. For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site at http://www.afterhourstrading.com.

News that the U.S was sending an aircraft carrier and fighter plans to the Mediterranean sent stocks into a tailspin in the afternoon before buyers showed up in the final 90 minutes.

Among the stocks coming back from steep losses, Dell traded as low as 16.90 before closing down .71 to 19.08. Cisco traded as low as 12.42 before finishing down .08 to 13.49. eBay was off more than 10% before closing down 3.3% at 48.33. Sun , off .08 to 9.10, finished a point off its low.

Adobe plunged 4 to 26.10 after matching estimates, but lowering forward guidance.

TriQuint Semiconductor rose .29 to 18.85 after reaffirming guidance.

Nokia continued to gain on a jump in cell phone sales after last week's terrorist attacks, rising .84 to 16.06.

Openwave lost .70 to 12.48, but 1.68 off its low, after KDDI delayed the launch of its 3G network.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: We include charts in the technical market commentary. If you can't get the charts via the e-mail newsletter version, try this link: http://www.afterhourstrading.com/column.html

A promising start this afternoon. There was a nice surge in up volume in the final hour of trading, particularly on the Nasdaq. So has the countertrend rally we talked about this morning begun? To start with, the Dow needs to get back above 8800 to get back into its old trading range; it was repelled at that level this afternoon (see chart below). Above that, the Dow has resistance at 9000 and then at 9100-9400. 8700 is first support, and critical support is 8480, today's low. Also important are the main bull market trendlines from the early 1980s; we'll update those charts overnight and post them in tomorrow's Morning Report. The S&P 500 (second chart) found support just above 980 today. First resistance is 1038, and above that 1050-1057. The Nasdaq (third chart) would look very ugly if it closed a week below 1500; that's the first support, and below that 1419-1430. First resistance is 1550, and then 1620. We also need to see strong buying in the economically sensitive sectors: the banking index, which narrowly avoided a major breakdown today, the cyclicals, the Dow Transports, and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. A good start, no doubt begun by Fed intervention in the futures market, but now we need to see the market build on it.

Special report: For a free introduction to technical chart patterns and an overview of last year's action in the stock market, visit http://www.internetstockreport.com/guest/article/0,1785,2571_500051,00.html.