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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Stocks trim day's losses but close down

UPDATED at 5:30 p.m.

Stocks trimmed their lows on the day but still finished underwater, dragged down by disappointing forecasts from tech companies that portend a poor recovery.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was the day's worst performer, closing down 1.9 percent at 2,179.

The Dow closed down 1.1 percent at 10,120.46. The broader S&P 500 closed down 1.2 percent at 1,084.53, just barely topping the important resistance level of 1,080.

Tech giant Qualcomm led today's plunge with a weak forecast. And Apple, only one day after the heralded rollout of its iPad, closed down 4 percent today.

Broader economic issues also are weighing on stocks. The Baltic Dry Index -- a measure of heavy-container shipping on the world's oceans -- fell to its lowest level since late October, signaling a slowdown in purchases of goods. New jobless claims filed last week came in higher than expected this morning and December manufacturing turned out to be much lower than forecasts.

In short: This recovery is going to be one long, slow, sideways grind, at least as long as unemployment hovers around its current 10 percent level.

Stocks extend losses in noon trading

Noon: Stocks continued downward halfway through the trading day, pushed back by dim news this morning on jobs and manufacturing.

As of noon, the Dow is down 1.5 percent.

The broader S&P 500 is down 1.5 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 2.2 percent, a worrying dive.

Wall Street is losing its appetite for riskier investments today and tech stocks are slumping. Apparently, there has been no iPad lift on tech stocks so far. Today's slump comes despite positive fourth-quarter earnings from Nasdaq-mover Yahoo earlier this week.

The Dow has dropped six of the past 10 days and the S&P 500 has dropped through its significant "support level" of 1,085. A support level is like another floor added onto your house -- the idea is it gives you a stable base as you build higher. But if you crash down through that floor, that's a bad sign.

Procter & Gamble and AT&T are the only Dow components moving higher today.

Stocks fall at opening

9:50 a.m.: Stocks are down at opening, following worse-than-expected jobs and manufacturing news out this morning.

In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is down one-third of 1 percent.

The broader S&P 500 is down two-tenths of 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down nearly half of 1 percent.

New jobless claims filed last week dropped by a less-than-expected 8,000 to 470,000. Forecasters were expecting the number to come in at 450,000, which illustrates the grinding nature of this recovery: slow, uneven, clunky.

Elsewhere, orders to factories for big-ticket items in December rose 0.3 percent. That sounds like good news, but it was far less than the 2 percent rise forecasters had been expecting.

For all of 2009, orders for big-ticket durable goods dropped 20.2 percent, the steepest plunge on record dating back to 1992. That means consumers are holding off on buying items such as refrigerators and businesses are holding off on buying airplanes, and the like.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, jobless claims, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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