Stocks gave up an early rally and were mostly lower today as widely held stocks, including Coca-Cola and Qualcomm, tumbled.
At 3 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was off 65.77 at 10,967.22. During the morning session, the Dow had risen as much as 130 points.
Broader stock indicators were lower, having given up earlier gains. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 18.35 at 1,385.74, and the Nasdaq composite index was down 66.67 at 4,003.24, adding to Wednesday's 97-point decline.
Analysts said the continued volatility of the market stemmed in part from worries about the Federal Reserve's upcoming meeting on interest rates. Next week, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates in a bid to keep inflation at bay as the nation's economy continues to grow at a rapid pace. Higher interest rates can threaten corporate profits.
Investors also punished some companies for disappointing Wall Street this week. Coca-Cola shares tumbled for a second session, losing 3 1 3/1 6 to trade at 59 1/4 . The company Wednesday announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs, about one-fifth of its work force.
Qualcomm, the Nasdaq's best-performing stock in 1999, fell 2 7/1 6 to 122 3/1 6. The company said Wednesday it may see lower demand for its products in the current quarter.
Dell fell 1 1 1/1 6 to 38 1 1/1 6. Late Wednesday, the company said it will miss analysts' profit and sales estimates this quarter due to parts shortages and slower customer demand. Dell cited Year 2000 computer concerns for the shortfall.
Today, however, Wall Street brokerages including Merrill Lynch and Chase Hambrecht & Quist stepped in to defend the company, raising their recommendations on the stock.
Other technology companies posted solid gains. Hewlett-Packard rose 1 7/8 to 110 5/8 .
Conexant, which will be added to the S&P 500 after the close of trading Friday, rose 13 1/2 to 87 1 3/1 6. Companies often get at least a short-term boost when they are added to an index, as mutual fund managers who try to mirror an index's performance buy shares of the newly added company.
Kellogg rose 7/1 6 to 25 1/4 after saying fourth-quarter profits rose 47 percent from last year as the company cut down on inefficient promotional efforts. Some investors were troubled by a decline in cereal sales.