Aug. 19 - Summary: Stocks fail to find footing in four-day slide; Intel rallies on 2014 sales hope; Zillow buys StreetEasy, shares fall on stock offering; JPMorgan under new pressure from regulators; Saks adds to mediocre retail summer. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Investors keep their eyes on the bond market - where the yield on the 10-year note now hovers just under 2.9 percent. Stocks are down four straight sessions; that hasn't happened since the end of last year. Intel bucked the downward trend. Shares were upgraded to "neutral" by Piper Jaffray. The covering analyst believes the chip giant will finally see revenue growth next year after suffering through two years of declines. The catalyst: the expected release of Windows 8.1 at the end of this year. Shares of Intel - up well over a full percent. Executives of Zillow are applauding the company's $50 million purchase of StreetEasy to bulk up its real estate web research business in the key city of New York. But investors put up the "for sale" sign as Zillow announces a stock offering, some of the proceeds will likely finance the deal. New troubles for JP Morgan Chase. According to sources, the Securities and Exchange Commission is now probing the bank's hiring practices in China, looking for signs of bribery: hiring children of communist party executives in exchange for lucrative investment banking deals. The stock was down more than 2 percent with other Wall Street firms down on fear their hiring practices will come under scrutiny too. Saks surprised the market with disappointing results a day earlier than expected. Lackluster demand on the high end forcing the luxury retailer to discount in order to get the cash register ringing. Saks is just the latest to indicate this has been a chilly summer for retailers. In Europe, stocks were dragged lower on worries of a political rift in debt-ravaged Italy.