Economic Data, SEC Probes Restrain Bulls

Stocks were restrained Thursday by weak home sales and durable orders and news of SEC probes of AOL and Tyco.

The ISDEX fell 6 to 89, and the Nasdaq dropped 50 to 1240. The S&P 500 lost 4 to 838, and the Dow gave back 4 to 8186. Volume declined to 2.41 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.34 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 18 to 14 on the NYSE, but decliners led 18 to 15 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Qualcomm and Overture beat estimates and raised guidance, and VeriSign matched estimates. BMC and JDS guided lower.

During the day, AOL fell 15% on news of an SEC investigation and a weak outlook.

Microsoft fell 7% after saying it plans to hire 5,000 workers and boost R&D spending, which will cut into earnings.

Chip stocks were battered on a weak outlook from Taiwan Semi . Applied Materials fell 14%.

Cisco fell 11% despite an upgrade. The stock’s 52 week low is 11.04, and it closed today at 11.61.

NetFlix fell despite beating estimates. RSA surged 16% on better than expected results.

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.

A nice recovery for the market today. We’d like to see the indexes retest their lows before heading higher, but so far the market is not cooperating. It’s possible they may do so after one more wave up in the Dow and S&P, which look like they may have begun a wave 5 up in the 60-minute chart (not pictured). The Nasdaq’s move looks sloppier and is probably the most likely of the three to retest or break yesterday’s lows (1192, but 1200 is strong support). To the upside, the Nasdaq doesn’t have much in the way of resistance until 1340-1387 (see first two charts below). The Dow (third and fourth charts) has some resistance at 8300-8400, but 9000 looks like more formidable resistance. The S&P (fifth and sixth charts) has resistance at 860, 900 and 950 (major resistance). Support is 7950, 7700-7800 and 7500 on the Dow and 816, 800 and 776-780 (critical) on the S&P.





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