Investors Look To HP, AMAT

Applied Materials and HP will give investors the latest opportunity to end a four-month market slide when they report earnings after the close on Tuesday.

Both are expected to report solid growth. AMAT is expected to report earnings of 19 cents a share, up from 3 cents a year ago, and HP is expected to increase earnings to 34 cents a share from 29 in the year ago quarter.

But in a market rocked by global turmoil, high energy prices and inflation fears, investors have tended to see the negative in everything lately, including earnings reports. Any change to that pattern would be a start.

Continuing violence in Iraq, high oil prices and election turmoil in India rocked stocks again on Monday.

The Nasdaq tumbled 27 to 1876, the S&P 500 fell 11 to 1084, and the Dow dropped 105 to 9906. Volume rose to 1.43 billion shares on the NYSE, and was unchanged at 1.53 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 22-10 on the NYSE, and 24-7 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 85% on the NYSE, and 87% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 15-107 on the NYSE, and 19-139 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Computer Sciences beat estimates, and Agilent raised guidance. CNT missed estimates.

During the day, Gateway plunged 14% on concern that it will have to pay to get out of an agreement with Affiliated Computer Services .

Lucent fell 5.5% after settling SEC accounting charges.

Satyam Computer Services tumbled 8% on fears that election turmoil in India could hurt outsourcing.

PeopleSoft lost 4.5% after Oracle cut its offer for the company from $26 to $21 a share.

Cisco slipped 1.5% on reports of stolen source code.

Lexar soared 10% on a deal with Kodak .

McData lost 5% after losing its senior marketing VP.

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