Technology Shares Drag Down Nasdaq

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The Nasdaq tumbled more than 1.6% as many big-name technology stocks were slammed, while the Dow sustained more modest losses on the day.

Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 47.4 points, or 0.38%, to 12,548, the S&P 500 fell 8.3 points, or 0.62%, to 1,329 and the Nasdaq Composite was lower by 46.2 points, or 1.6%, to 2,782. The FOX 50 was down 7.1 points to 931.

Among the laggards on the Nasdaq were heavyweights like (NASDAQ:AMZN), Yahoo! (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Neflix (NASDAQ:MSFT). 92 out of the 100 issues on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index of large non-financial companies were down on the day.

Consumer discretionary stocks like Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG)struggled on the day as well.

Also weighing on the markets was the withdrawal of the joint Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ) and IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE:ICE) bid for NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX).  The two companies cited issues garnering approval from antitrust regulators as the reason for the sudden move.

NYSE had backed its original agreement with German exchange Deutsche Boerse since Nasdaq and ICE made the unsolicited offer in April.  Deutsche Boerse acknowledged the decision and said it would continue pursuing its takeover attempt.

On the economic front, the Federal Reserve's Empire State Manufacturing Index slid to 11.9 in May from 21.7 in April.  Economists were expecting this regional gauge of manufacturing activity to tick lower to 19.9 for the month. The business conditions sub-index was at its lowest since December as prices paid soared to the highest level since July 2008.

However, the employment sub index climbed to its highest level since May 2004.

The New York regional index is the first to be released, and economists generally await the release from other regions to more fully analyze the condition of the manufacturing sector.

The National Association of Builders/Wells Fargo homebuilder sentiment index remained at 16 in May.  Wall Street expected the index to tick higher to 17 for the month.  Readings under 50 indicate more builders see current conditions as poor as opposed to favorable.

A more widely-watched report on new housing activity in April is on tap for Tuesday. Builders like KB Home (NYSE:KBH) and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) could be swayed be these data.

Euro zone finance ministers had their monthly meeting in Brussels on Monday. The group approved a three-year emergency bail out loan for Portugal worth roughly $111 billion.

However, the outlook for Greece, which has been struggling to pay its $488 billion in public debt and has had its credit rating repeatedly slashed, remains unclear.  The euro zone was mulling a $155 billion aid package for the embattled country.

The arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid in a New York City hotel also made the situation murkier.  Strauss-Kahn was expected to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before attending the meeting in Brussels and has been a prominent figure in European debt talks.

IMF has a considerable level of bench talent, so the arrest isn't likely to present an operational challenge for the IMF, analysts say.

Energy markets were deep in the red following last week's selloff.

Light, sweet crude fell $2.28, or 2.3%, to $97.37.  Wholesale RBOB Gasoline plummeted 14 cents, or 4.7%, to $2.93 a gallon.

Gasoline prices on the consumer level were fairly steady over the weekend and remain close to record highs of $4.11 struck in 2008.  A gallon of regular gas cost $3.96 on average nationwide, up from $3.82 last month and $2.87 last year.

In metals, gold was down $3.00, or 0.2%, to $1,491 a troy ounce.  Silver was off 88 cents, or 2.5%, to $34.13 a troy ounce.

The euro gained 0.97% on the U.S. dollar and the greenback was down 0.48% against a basket of world currencies.

Corporate News

Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) posted weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, as its revenue fell to $461 million from $489 million last year.  Analysts expected the home improvement chain to earn 36 cents for the quarter.

J.C. Penny (NYSE:JCP) unveiled quarterly earnings of 28 cents a share, as compared with 26 cents last year, zipping by Wall Street's expectations of 24 cents.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AMLN) sued Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), alleging the company's joint diabetes venture with Boehringer Ingelheim is anti-competitive.

Foreign Markets

The English FTSE 100 was down 0.04% to 5,924, the French CAC 40 slid 0.72% to 3,990 and the German DAX slipped 0.21% to 7,388.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 was off 0.94% to 9,558 and the Chinese Hang Seng fell 1.4% to 22,961.