12:35pm (EST)

We mentioned in the Weekly Wrap Sunday night that the market was in a tight trading range and for the Dow we mentioned the range at 9,700-10,700.  While we remain optimistic that the bulls can still challenge the top end of our ranges we also know the market still has plenty of headwinds facing it.

Today’s Consumer Confidence report which showed a surprising drop reminded us just how fragile the economic recovery really is.  The Conference Board says its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 46 in February from 56.5 last month.  Wall Street was looking for a reading of 55.

As a result, the markets started to slide and have hit their lows for the day.

[caption id="attachment_4319" align="aligncenter" width="442" caption="DJIA 15-Minute Chart"]DJIA 15-Minute Chart[/caption]

At midday, the Dow is down 88, or 0.9%, to 10,294, the Nasdaq is down 35 points, or 1.6%, to 2,207, while the S&P is down 13, or 1.2%, to 1,094.

As far as specific stocks, Toyota Motor’s (TM, $72.00, down $0.93) U.S. sales chief is meeting with the House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Capital Hill this afternoon to apologize for Toyota’s management of its recent recall. 

The hot seat continues to turn up an interesting mix of companies and CEO’s answering Washington’s concerns and Toyota is the latest.

We have lots to talk about in our Members Area so let’s get to it…