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Another mixed session

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Yesterday, it was the NASDAQ and more heavily technology exposed groups that traded lower, but its the NYSE Composite (NYA.X) 462 -0.55% that sees early morning selling pressure and creates a mixed market in the early going.

Airline stocks as depicted by the Airline Index (XAL.X) 33.07 -6.5% are under selling pressure again today and nearing a 52- week low set just recently on September 25 (low 32.05) after shares of Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL) $9.55 -16.95% were halted for trading and now resumed when the company announced that September quarterly revenue will be unchanged from year-ago (consensus was for a decline of -1.1%) and sees a loss of $350 million. The company also announced it saw 1,500 more job cuts coming and will take a Q4 non-cash charge of about $700-$800 million. Finally, the company said it had amended agreements with its creditor.

That new from Delta (DAL) has brought selling pressure to other names in the group with AMR Corp (NYSE:AMR) $4.36 -10%, UAL Corp. (NYSE:UAL) $2.51 -13%, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) $12.94 -6.7% and Continental Airlines (NYSE:CAL) $5.35 -7.75%. NASDAQ listed airline stocks has Northwest (NASDAQ:NWAC) $7.05 -5.7% SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW) $12.99 -2.69%, Atlantic Coast Airlines (NASDAQ:ACAI) $9.10 -3.6% and JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) $41.64 -2.25% also under some selling pressure.

After a nice gain yesterday, the Dow Industrials (INDU) 7,904 -1.15% are lower, but still above Wednesday's close of 7,841 as weakness in Philip Morris (NYSE:MO) $38.19 -10.62%, SBC Communications (NYSE:SBC) $20.25 -7.53% and General Electric (NYSE:GE) $24.98 -5.34%, weighs on what appears to be a short- covering "pop" in Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ) $12.61 +4.5%. Shares of Citigroup (NYSE:C) $30.35 +2.84% trade higher after this morning's Wall Street Journal report of a potential settlement coming between Citigroup when it meets with federal regulators today to propose a settlement that includes plans to completely sever ties between its research and investment-banking businesses, and pay a fine that could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sector strength is found among tech in the Biotechnology (BTK.X) 336 +2.19% and Semiconductor (SOX.X) 254 +2.46%, while the Networking Index (NWX.X) 88.63 -4.35% breaks to another 52-week low after this mornings news from telecom service provider SBC Communications (NYSE:SBC) $20.15 -7.99% lowered its capex budget once again.

Away from technology, sector strength is found in the healthcare sectors as depicted by the Morgan Stanley Health Providers (RXH.X) 321 +1.87% and HMO's (HMO.X) 547 +2.05%. Energy sectors also show gains with the Oil Index (OIX.X) 271.9 +1.3%, Oil Service (OSX.X) 79.41 +0.96% and Natural Gas (XNG.X) 128 +0.5%.

Retailers as depicted by the S&P Retail Index (RLX.X) 287 -0.37% and Retail HOLDRS (AMEX:RTH) 77.65 -0.26% traded modestly lower after this morning's University of Michigan's final September consumer sentiment reading was revised to 86.1 from the preliminary 86.2 reading, which was roughly inline with the 86.0 consensus. In recent months, confidence has been slipping lower due to stock market declines and rising layoffs, but consumer spending has been resilient nonetheless.

Jeff Bailey

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