Can you say "losing streak"?

Five down days in a row for the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index made it three losing weeks in a row for the tech-heavy index.

Last week's 63-point retreat took 3 percent off the index. Since the end of the second quarter, the Nasdaq composite has slipped 8 percent, a 164-point retreat that leaves it just seven points above the low for the year hit in May.

The losing streaks are longer, but more fitful and less severe, for the Dow Jones industrial average, off four weeks in a row, and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, with five consecutive losses. Last week's 73-point loss for the Dow left it down 340 points, or 3.2 percent, since the slide began June 23. The S&P turned south June 11 and has lost 35 points -- 11 last week -- for a total of 3 percent.

The trends are blamed on disappointing second-quarter earnings, even though Standard & Poor's is projecting that the stocks in the 500 will report a 24 percent improvement in profits for the quarter. Overly optimistic traders were hoping for even more.

-- Jerry Knight