Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nasdaq weakness related to European Union action

Today's market continued to be volatile and driven to a material extent by news from the European markets, with a possible downgrade of Portugal leading to a late sell-off after an all day struggle to get back to par after a very weak start. That's the truth and that's the story being told in all of the market synopses read here.

One market result is being overlooked. The Nasdaq declined 1.07% while the S&P was off .61% and the Dow .42%. Google was down 4.6% and Ebay 3.6%. The announcement that the European Union is opening an antitrust investigation into Google's search practices had a much more meaningful impact on the overall market than is being recognized, at least that's the opinion here. Tussles with the European Union's antitrust commission often end badly. With the troubles in the EU today and the rumbles of protectionism rising around the world, their agenda could go beyond Google's specific actions, actions which from this distance seem defensible.

Sure, part of Google's decline today could be the announcement of their interest in buying Groupon at a price that seems extraordinary for a two year old firm in a business with low barriers to entry. With that taken into account Google's decline may have been in line with Ebay's hit today.

Everything suggests that the EU investigation is big news in investor's minds, and the Nasdaq result today relative to other markets is definitely not related specifically to Portugal credit spreads.


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