Home Depot, Mideast Violence Send Stocks Plummeting

Blue chips stocks plummeted Thursday on an earnings warning from Home Depot, a terrorist attack on a U.S. destroyer and an Israeli attack near Palestinian headquarters. The news cut short a promising rally in technology and Internet stocks.

The ISDEX dropped 15 to 615, and the Nasdaq fell 60 to 3108. The S&P 500 lost 30 to 1334, and the Dow plummeted 357 to 10,054. Volume declined slightly to 638 million shares on the NYSE and 957 million on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by 18 to 8 on the NYSE and 23 to 12 on the Nasdaq. For earnings reports, visit our earnings calendar and reported earnings. For after hours quotes and news, visit our after hours trading site.

Yahoo dropped another 6 5/8 to 58 3/4. The company beat estimates Tuesday, but warned that it expects the difficult Internet advertising environment to continue for the next several quarters, and that marketing costs will likely rise faster than revenue. DoubleClick , which reports earnings tonight, dropped 2 1/4 to 19. eBay added 5/16 to 53 5/16, but Amazon.com dropped 1 11/16 to 26 1/8, a day after closing at a new 52-week low. Amazon’s next strong support is 20.

Technical note on Yahoo: We said back in July that Yahoo could be headed to $70, based on a break of a 40-point broadening pattern at 110. The stock subsequently recovered, but investors got another chance to get out in September, when the stock broke a bear flag at about 105. The 40-point “pole” on that flag predicted a move to 65. Also, notice the 15-point rectangle that broke down at 125 in late August, predicting a move to 110. That break was also a warning sign, as rectangles normally break in the direction of the current trend, which was up at the time.

Corning rose 2 3/8 to 85 1/2 on a positive earnings pre-announcement. Cisco slipped 1/2 to 50 11/16, holding the important $50 level. Sonus Networks , which beat earnings after the bell Wednesday, dropped 2 3/4 to 39, and Redback Networks , which also beat earnings, lost 8 1/16 to 104 1/2. Juniper Networks , which reports tonight, added 3 1/4 to 209 1/4. Sycamore gained 5 3/8 to 78 1/16 on a deal with BellSouth.

Stamps.com lost 11/32 2 19/32 on the resignation of chairman and CEO John Payne. For more on the stock, which is trading for less than cash on hand, click here.

PurchasePro rose 1 1/16 to 63 on a Sands Brothers Strong Buy rating and $100 price target.

WebMD slipped 9/32 to 9 13/32 on the resignations of director Jim Clark and co-CEO Jeffrey Arnold.

Sagent Technology plummeted 2 25/32 to 2 27/32 on an earnings warning.

Inktomi slipped 5/16 to 78 despite a JP Morgan Buy rating, a day after breaking a descending triangle just under 90. The size of that pattern is about 70 points; it’s not likely that Inktomi is going to 20, but it could have significant downside ahead, perhaps to support at 50.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: We are now including charts with the technical market commentary; just click on the links in the story below to go to them. If you have trouble accessing the charts via the e-mail newsletter version, try this link: http://www.afterhourstrading.com/column.html

The Nasdaq continues to hold

support on a line with its 1999 peak; a technical truism is that old tops make good bottoms. A break below 3100 and then the previous 3042 bottom would likely lead to a final bottom in the 2500-2900 range. To the upside, we want to see the Nasdaq get back above 3250, a small downtrend within a downtrend, then 3500-3521, its previous bottom and main downtrend line. If the index can recover any where above 3000, it could form a rectangle between 3000 and 4300. Also, there is a gap at 2900 that could be a downside lure here.

The S&P 500 broke its 1994 logarithmic trendline at about 1350, a very important level. A break of that line, which has never been broken, could carry the index as low as 1200. So far, the decline has been halted around 1340, the index’s April bottom. To the upside, first resistance is at 1380.

The ISDEX again broke support at 650, the lower end of a 200-point trading range. Next support is 600, and then the May low of 560. First resistance is the ISDEX’s downtrend line at about 675. The Dow broke its April trendline at about 10,400 a day after piercing it, and is also breaking critical support at 10,200 today, the April low. The index could be headed as low as 9,500-9,700.

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