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American Express reports better than expected earnings

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Dow components American Express (NYSE:AXP) $29.91 -5.46% reported earnings at approximately 01:30 PM EST of $0.51 a share, which was 2-cents better than consensus. That was enough to give the stock a little "pop" from $30 to an afternoon session high of $31.20 and have the Dow Industrials rallying back the 8,055 level which is pretty close to resistance of 8,063 mentioned in the 01:00 EST Update. Since 02:00 EST however, stocks haven't been able to hold their highs and the Dow Industrials is down 145 points at 7,874, while the S&P 500 ($SPX.X) trades down 19 points at 828 (-2.31%) and the NASDAQ Composite (COMPX) 1,291 -2.09% gives back about 22 points of it late afternoon rally.

Volume on the NYSE and NASDAQ are heavy once again today with over 1.7 billion shares traded on the big board and 1.95 billion traded on the NASDAQ.

With an hour left to go in trading, breadth is negative with decliners outnumbering advancers by a better than 3 to 1 margin on the NYSE, while the NASDAQ shows decliners having an upper- hand at better than 2 to 1.

There's some improvement in new highs versus new lows compared to Friday's trading. On the NYSE, there have been 21 stocks achieving new 52-week highs compared to a still weakening 537 stocks hitting new lows. Over at the NASDAQ there have been 15 stocks achieve new highs, compared to 308 stocks trading new lows.

Once again, bankrupt WorldCom (NASDAQ:WCOME) $0.14 +52% leads the most active list, with the NASDAQ-100 Trust (AMEX:QQQ) $23.51 -5% second most active at 126.8 million. Rounding out the top 5 most actively traded issues has Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) $13.03 -4.5% at 85.2 million, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) $46.70 -5.75% (new 52-week low today) at 74.9 million and Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) $4.14 -2.35% (new 52-week low today) trading 71.3 million shares, after Friday's 223 million share day.

Shares of Williams Company (NYSE:WMB) $2.10 -59% which we profiled as bearish in our intraday commentary back in early June near the $14 level leads today's market losers after the energy trader said it expects to report a recurring loss for Q2, driven by conditions affecting the company's marketing and risk management business. The company said it now expects to post a Q2 loss of $-0.35-$-0.40 a share, versus previous profit guidance of $0.20-$0.25 a share. Adding insult to injury was the company's board of directors to approve a reduction of the Q3 stock dividend to $0.01 per share from $0.20 in order to conserve cash.

Other stocks we've mentioned as bearish among the energy traders has Aquila (NYSE:ILA) $6.54 -6.57% trading lower, while El Paso Corp. (NYSE:EP) $13.49 +0.97% rebounds from a 52-week low set Friday.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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