Stocks Stumble Again

Stocks fell again Wednesday on Mideast tensions and earnings worries, but Dell gave investors hope after hours when the company raised revenue guidance.

The ISDEX fell 2 to 152, and the Nasdaq lost 20 to 1784. The S&P 500 dropped 11 to 1125, and the Dow skidded 115 to 10,198. Volume rose to 1.21 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.86 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 19 to 11 on the NYSE, and 21 to 13 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Dell rose after reaffirming earnings estimates and raising revenue guidance. Western Digital also raised guidance, but Inktomi and Compuware warned.

During the day, Siebel lost 9% on another downgrade. fell 9% on confusing guidance, and Commerce One and Interwoven each lost 9%-10% on warnings.

WebMethods surged 11% after raising guidance.

Cray gained 16% on a Defense Department contract.

Micron fell 5% on a downgrade.

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.

The Nasdaq (first two charts) once again came very close to a major breakdown, but recovered by the close. 1770 is critical support for tomorrow, and resistance is 1793-1805. Because the Nasdaq’s action in the last two days formed a clear down channel, the index won’t break out at this point until 1840-1845. The Dow (third and fourth charts) is another index flirting with disaster. The index needs to get back above 10,275 to begin to look good again. Support can be found at 10,140, 10,100, 10,030-10,050 and 9970-10,000, but that chart looks like the Dow could head all the way to 9850-9900. The S&P (fifth chart) pushed into some critical support in the 1115-1125 range. Resistance is 1130, 1140, and 1145-1148. Friday-Monday are potential cycle turn dates; a sell-off into those dates could be potentially bullish, and a rally heading into those dates could be bearish. We’ll look for signs of strong direction early next week.




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