Another Day, Another Scandal

Stocks plunged once again on Monday on news that WorldCom had filed for bankruptcy protection and financial giant Citigroup had arranged unusual funding for Enron.

The ISDEX fell 2 to 96, and the Nasdaq dropped 36 to 1282. The S&P 500 lost 27 to 819, and the Dow fell 234 to 7784, just 300 points from its October 1998 low. Volume declined to 2.17 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners swamped advancers 26 to 6 on the NYSE, and 24 to 10 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Silicon Labs , JDA and Triquint beat estimates; Texas Instruments , Altera , and Cirrus matched estimates; Novellus fell on a warning; Computer Associates topped estimates but warned; and Neoforma announced an accounting review.

During the day, Check Point gained 7% after beating estimates.

Telecoms were weak on a warning from BellSouth and WorldCom’s bankruptcy filing.

Microsoft broke its September 21 low of 47.50.

Wireless Facilities gained 5% on a positive outlook.

Amazon gained 1% ahead of tomorrow night’s earnings report.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: To see the charts in the text email newsletter, click on the story link at the top of the newsletter.

The Dow (first chart below) is approaching a familiar level: 7500, a support that buoyed the index during the emerging markets crisis of 1997-1998 (the October 1998 low was 7468.27). We would be very surprised if the market didn’t bounce there, and there is little in the way of strong resistance to the upside until Dow 9000 and S&P 950 (see second chart below). The S&P daily (third chart) formed the bearish “three black crows” pattern the last two days, which targets 785 or so to the downside. The S&P would have fallen 50% from its all-time high below 776.44, another natural support level. The Dow daily (fourth chart) is almost as oversold as it was at the September bottom, and one more down day could finally get that elusive +DI reading under 10, showing that buying pressure has finally dried up. However, we have yet to get a single 90% downside day on the NYSE, even though today’s TICK showed an extreme negative reading (-1468), so selling still may not be finished even though a bounce could begin soon. The VIX (fifth chart), the options volatility index, is approaching the 55-60 area that has made for some good bottoms. And finally, the Nasdaq (sixth chart) is closing in on major support at 1200, but it may not get that far just yet if the Dow bounces at 7500 first. 1250 is a possible support there.






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