U.S. stocks slipped at Wednesday's start, with energy and technology shares leading the decline, as investors grew cautious about the strength of the economic rebound. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21 points to 9,860. The S&P 500 Index declined 3 points to 1,059 while the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 13 points to 2,103. Plenty of earnings this morning, but investors are more app to sell on the news today. Visa is the exception trading up 5% after beating estimates by 2 cents. Mastercard is higher in sympathy. Most of the financials are lower. Lazard is lower following earnings. In the commodity space earnings are flooding in from Petro China, Hess, Conoco Phillips, International Paper, Valero, Southern Company, and Arcelor Mittal. Most are lower. AK Steel was upgraded, but the stock is lower. In the retail space Owens Corning, Newell Rubbermaid, Travel Zoo, Peets Coffee, Goodyear Tire, Ashland, Buffalo Wild Wing, and Ace Limited reported earnings. Peets Coffee is up 14% while Goodyear is down 16%. Target is higher on an upgrade. In the tech sector more of the same. Intel, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, and Sandisk were all downgraded. It seems like the analysts just warmed up to these stocks only a few weeks ago. RF Micro Devices is up 5% on an upgrade. At 10 o'clock, weaker than expected housing data sent the major averages lower. After the first hour the Dow and the Nasdaq were both down 18 points. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages moved lower. The Dow dropped 100 points. The Nasdaq declined 54 points. Defensive stocks are performing well like AT&T, Verizon, Altria, and Philip Morris. In the last hour no rebound. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 119 points at 9,762. The S&P 500 Index declined 20 points, or 2%, to 1,042, with the broad market gauge losing its gains for October. The Nasdaq Composite lost 56 points, or 2.7%, to close at 2,059.
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