Stocks fell today as the tech sector dragged the Dow down 79.26 points to 13,968.05—but the mood was upbeat nonetheless, as a jobs survey fueled hopes that payrolls began to rebound in September. All eyes are on a key hiring report coming out Friday; good news would solidify confidence that the credit crunch is finally easing. "People are posturing for the big payroll report," one analyst told the Wall Street Journal. "If jobs are OK and the consumer stays strong, the worst may be behind us."
The Nasdaq dropped 17.68 to 2,729.43 and the S&P dipped 7.03 to 1,539.60. A decline in semiconductor stocks led tech losses; Micron Technology dropped 8.7% and Intel 2.4% as falling microchip prices took the air out of the recently buoyant industry. Meanwhile home builders rallied on news that their shares might turn the corner.