Stocks Plunge Following Fed Inaction

Stocks plunged across the board on Wednesday, continuing a sell-off that began when the Federal Reserve failed to lower interest rates on Tuesday.

The ISDEX plummeted 42 to 334, more than 11%, and the Nasdaq plunged 151 to 2360, both new 52-week lows. The S&P 500 fell 31 to 1273 and the Dow dropped 172 to 10,412. Volume surged to 615 million shares on the NYSE and 1.2 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by 17 to 9 on the NYSE and 30 to 7 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.

Only one of 50 ISDEX stocks traded higher. VerticalNet rose 3/32 to 5 5/8 after winning a contract from Commerce One , which plunged 8 to 23. Ariba fell 8 1/8 to 51 1/8 after testing support at 49.

An earnings warning from Foundry Networks and an earnings miss from Jabil hit infrastructure stocks hard. Foundry plunged 17 5/16 to 13 5/16, Juniper Networks lost 11 3/4 to 102, Cisco lost 5 1/16 to 36 11/16, and Extreme Networks plummeted 15 5/16 to 33 1/4. Merrill Lynch downgraded Cisco and CS First Boston said fund manager sentiment is so negative that Cisco could be headed to the mid-20s.

Even good news couldn’t save stocks. TIBCO fell 4 1/4 to 40 1/16 after the company’s 10-cent earnings beat estimates by 3 cents.

eBay fell 4 1/4 to 28, a new 52-week low. Yahoo , off 7/8 to 27 1/8, and , off 1 9/16 to 16 11/16, also hit new yearly lows.

AnswerThink lost 15/16 to 3 1/16 on an earnings warning.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: We are now including charts in the technical market commentary. If you can’t get the charts via the e-mail newsletter version, try this link:

The Nasdaq is just about at the 1990 logarithmic trendline at the 2350 level, give or take 50 points. We can’t get the monthly charts to update intraday today, but we should be just about at that line. If we don’t hold above 2300, the next stop is likely to be under 2200.

The Nasdaq 100 will complete a measured bear move at 2228, just below today’s low of 2237. That will complete a move from the August peak equal in points to the first leg down in April and May. With both Nasdaq indexes completing major objectives, and fund managers so scared that they won’t step up and buy Cisco, we are hopeful of at least a modest bounce soon.

The S&P 100 broke 685 support; 650 support is next. The S&P 500 also broke support, and could find support at 1250.

The Dow continues to be the best-looking index, holding the 10,380 level that began its outperformance in late October. The index could be forming an inverse head-and-shoulders, the latest pattern to predict a possible move above 11,000.

Special report: For a free introduction to technical chart patterns and an overview of this year’s action in the stock market, visit,1785,2571_500051,00.html.

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