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4:29 PM, May 20, 2010 --

  • NYSE down 274.2 (-4%) to 6,653.00.
  • DJIA down 376.4 (-3.6%) to 10,068.
  • S&P 500 down 43 (-3.9%) to 1,088.98.
  • Nasdaq down 94 (-4.1%) to 1,072.


GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng down 0.17%
  • Nikkei down 1.54%
  • FTSE down 1.55%


UPSIDE MOVERS


(+) DLTR guides mostly above Street view.

(+) MF turns up, reports unexpected loss.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) BPAX turns down despite positive study results.

(-) ADSK turns lower, despite Q1 beat, Q2 guidance that straddled Street view.

(-) RSO prices shares.

(-) NTES misses with Q1 results.

(-) HOTT continues evening drop after swings to loss.

(-) SHLD results down sharply from year-ago quarter, beat Street.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks fell sharply throughout the day, only moving off low pressured by weak U.S. economic data, technical factors and continued negative sentiment surrounding Europe's fiscal situation.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits in the United States shot up 25,000 in the latest week to 471,000, the highest level in a month, according to the Labor Department. The four-week average of initial claims - a better gauge of employment trends than the volatile weekly number - rose by 3,000 to 453,500. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch predicted initial claims would drop to a seasonally adjusted 440,000 from last week's reading of 446,000.

The Philadelphia Fed index rose to 21.4 in May from 20.2 in April. Economists had expected a rise to 21.7, according to Marketwatch.com.

Meanwhile, the index of leading economic indicators fell 0.1% in April, posting the first decline since March 2009. March was revised down to a 1.3% gain. Analysts polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 0.2% in April.

Technically, stocks also broke support levels. The Dow fell below its close on May 7, the day after the infamous "Flash Crash" that saw an intra-day decline of nearly 1,000 points. The May 7 close marked the low -- until today -- of the correction that began from the April highs, Marketwatch.com reports.

Further, the Dow and S&P 500 both broke below their 200-day moving averages, according to the report.

Oil is falling as stocks worldwide continue to decline on prevailing worries about the euro zone's economic outlook. The euro's drop against the greenback reflected such concerns, and anxiety about Europe's financial footing is putting a damper on global growth prospects, weighing on likely energy demand.

Investors are turning to the U.S. dollar as they sell off commodities. Crude was last down at $70.36 per barrel.

Gold fell earlier as investors cashed in on its record highs reached last week. There is growing speculation among industry analysts that the selling is due in part to compensate for losses in other markets that investors have suffered in recent days.

Still, gold continues to hold on to its status as a safe haven in the longer term and has fought back to trade around unchanged. Gold was last even at $1,193 per ounce.

Interest rates fell sharply in the Treasury market as investors once again sought the safety of U.S. government debt, the AP reported.

In company news, Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION) is down after it priced a public offering of 21,077,227 warrants to purchase shares of ZION common stock, at an offering price of $8.3028 per warrant.

Resource Capital (NYSE:RSO) falls after it priced 7.5 million shares at $5.25 each
in a follow-on public offering.

Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) drops after the company reports Q1 adjusted EPS of $0.16 vs $0.38 a year earlier but ahead of the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate for $0.14. Revenue was virtually flat at $10.05 billion. The Street looked for $10.2 billion. Comparable-store sales grew 1.7% at Kmart and 1.2% at Sears domestic, the first increase for Sears domestic "in several years," the company notes.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) falls after it said in a SEC filing that worldwide sales of its equipment fell 4% in the three-month period ended in April, compared with the same period a year earlier.

TTI Telecom (TTIL) jumps after the company says, in response to media reports, that it is in talks for a buyout.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB) are among those with earnings due after the bell.

Source: Steep Stock Drop As Key Tech Levels Punctured