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Dow Snaps Winning Streak; JDS, AMD Soar

Stocks tumbled Thursday as a weak holiday outlook from Wal-Mart and drop in energy prices offset fewer jobless claims.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 93.79, or 0.9 percent, to close at 10,197.47, snapping a six-day winning streak.

The S&P 500 dropped more than 1 percent to 1,087.24 — the 1,100 mark remains a sticking point for the index. The Nasdaq was the best performer of the three, down just 0.8 percent, amid huge gains in some techs, including JDS Uniphase and AMD.

Crude oil fell to $76.94 a barrel amid worries about demand and as the dollar firmed against major currencies.

Jobless claims fell for the second straight week, suggesting continued gradual improvement in the economy.

Wal-Mart beat earnings expectations but delivered a light holiday forecast.

AIG shares fell 1.3 percent amid speculation about its top executives. The stock has quietly risen 50 percentin the past five months.

Techs rallied after an earnings beat from Applied Materials and big deal news.

Applied Materials beat on both the top and bottom lines, announced plans to cut jobs globally and said it expects sales to jump 30 percentnext year. Its shares rallied after-hours yesterday but fell 3.3 percent today.

Shares of AMD rocketed 22 percent after finally settling its patent war with Intel , which agreed to pay AMD $1.25 billion.

Giving the sector a jolt, Hewlett-Packard agreed to acquire 3Com for $2.7 billion in cash. 3Com shares rallied 31 percent to $7.46.

That shot started off a swirl of speculation about what rivals Cisco and IBM might do. Both stocks declined today.

The big question is: What might be next takeover target in this tech horse race? JDS Uniphase and Broadcom are some of the names being tossed around.

JDS Uniphase rallied 7 percent. The company, if you recall, was one of the highflyers of the dot-com boom and crashed spectacularly. Now, it's at a sweet spot, says Sanford Bernstein’s Jeff Evenson, as it makes testing equipment that companies need for setting up broadband and wireless networks. They also make lasers and one of their biggest drivers last quarter was 3D glasses, capitalizing on the IMAX trend.

Brocade was actually downgraded by several analysts amid worries that it won't able to gain market share following the deal. Its shares fell 13 percent.

In addition to Wal-Mart, jitters over retail sales heading into the holidays also were reflected in earnings from Kohl's, which reflected Wal-Mart's in that the retailer beat third-quarter expectations but looks set to fall short in the year's final reporting period.

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

Dow component Walt Disney reports after the closing bell, as does retailer Nordstrom .

Homebuilders skidded after the prior session's rally. Mortgage rates declined last week, with the 30-year fixed down to 4.91 percent, and home foreclosures slowing for a third consecutive month, but RealtyTrac, which puts out the foreclosure report, said rising unemployment could make that lull temporary.

President Obama announced this morning plans to hold a jobs summit in Decemberto look at ways to boost jobs growth.

Volume was light, with 1.05 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Decliners outpaced advancers, roughly 4 to 1.

Still to Come:

FRIDAY: NY Fed conference on financial intermediation; international trade; import/export prices; consumer sentiment; Nicholas Cosmo court appearance; Fed's Evans speaks; Earnings from JCPenney, Abercrombie

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.