IBM, Microsoft Lead Stocks Lower

Stocks fell Friday on disappointing earnings reports from IBM and Microsoft.

The ISDEX fell 4 to 179, and the Nasdaq lost 55 to 1930. The S&P 500 fell 11 to 1127, and the Dow dropped 78 to 9771. Volume declined to 1.33 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.69 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by 18 to 12 on the NYSE and 23 to 12 on the Nasdaq.

Microsoft and IBM each fell 5% on disappointing outlooks that had investors questioning whether there will be much of a recovery in 2002.

Sun Microsystems fell 2% despite posting better than expected results and reaffirming guidance.

Network Associates and Scientific Atlanta surged after beating estimates, but Xilinx , Genesis Microchip , and Nortel fell on their earnings reports.

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.

Under the circumstances, today wasn’t the worst-looking day for the market. The Dow (first chart) and S&P 500 (second chart) held 9700 and 1125 support, still comfortably above the critical levels of 9598 and 1110. We’ll see how next week looks; post-option expiration weeks often have a modest downward bias to them, and IBM and Microsoft certainly have given investors a reason to sell. Resistance on the Dow is 9830-9860 and then 9925, and 1139 and 1144 on the S&P. The Nasdaq 100 (third chart) looks a little on the ugly side, failing at progressively lower resistance; the low 1400s are not out of the question for the big techs. Resistance is 1585 and 1610. The Nasdaq (fourth chart) closed below its 200-day moving average at 1933. If it can clear that, 1960 and 2000 are the next resistance levels. Support is 1920, 1900 and then 1880.

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