Stocks opened lower Thursday, extending the prior session's decline as another batch of U.S. economic data showed continuing jobs weakness. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 147 points to 11,963. The S&P 500 Index declined 17 points to 1270 while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 30 points to 2638. So much for the short term rally, everything is getting hit this morning. The commodity sector is getting hit with oil down dramatically on news the International Energy Agency will release 60 million barrels to compensate the loss in production from Libya. Good for consumers. BP and Transocean are weak even though both received upgrades. Nabors Industries is down 5% on a downgrade. The financials are lower once again. Paychex and Discover are modestly higher following better than expected earnings. Plenty of upgrades and downgrades in the tech sector, without much reaction. LSI Logic, EMC, and Net App were all upgraded, but the stocks are lower. F5 Networks was upgraded yesterday and then downgraded today. The stock is down 2%. Red Hat is one of the few bright spots, up 5% following better than expected earnings. In the retail space a couple of standouts. Rite Aid is up 3% on earnings. Bed Bath & Beyond is jumping 5% on earnings. Decker Outdoor is higher on an upgrade. The drop in oil is also a benefit to retailers. Through the first hour the selling accelerated with the Dow dropping over 200 points. The Nasdaq is holding its opening losses thanks to a turnaround in Apple's shares. Through the morning the Dow remained weak while a couple of techs are holding up like Apple, Research in Motion, Micron, and Red Hat. Google has not recovered, down 2% on news of a subpoena for antitrust concerns. That's not good. A couple of drug stocks look good like Pfizer and Bristol Myers. Bristol is up over 5%. In the afternoon a recovery was led by the tech and some of the commodities. The Nasdaq rallied into the green, but the brief rebound in the Dow did not last. Entering the last hour the Dow rallied once again on news Greece is close to a financial settlement. The rebound only lasted five minutes, but in the last hour into the close the averages put in another impressive rally. Pretty good volatility today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 59 points at 12050. The S&P 500 Index ended down 3 points at 1283 while the NASDAQ Composite Index ended higher by 17 points at 2,686.
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