NEW YORK – Stocks fell today as investors, growing even more nervous with the advent of third-quarter earnings reports, again unloaded technology stocks.
The technology-led Nasdaq composite index fell 62.54 to 3,741.22, according to preliminary calculations, wiping out an early gain of nearly 65 points.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39.22 to 10,808.15 after giving back an early 50-point gain, while the Standard &Poor’s 500-stock index was off 9.69 at 1,439.03 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slipped 3.42 to 515.40.
“This just highlights that this market has a bit more time to tread water with issues of third-quarter earnings and the lower, more tempered outlook for the economy going forward,” said Richard Cripps, chief market strategist for Legg Mason. “Stocks are adjusting, reflecting, discounting or whatever you want to call it to this deceleration of economic growth.”
The stock market has generally retreated this month as the end of the third quarter approaches. Many companies have warned that profits will be below expectations because of higher energy costs and a weakened currency in Europe. More reports are also pointing to a moderation in the economy, and investors aren’t sure what that will mean for stocks.
Cisco Systems fell $3.13 to $57.19, and Microsoft slipped $2 to $61.25. Intel fell $2.56 to $45.38, extending a decline that began Friday after the company warned of lower profits.
On the Big Board, Micron Technology was down $4.50 at $47. Lucent fell $1.25 to $30.75.
But financial shares moved higher, with Citigroup up $1.50 to $54.25 and American Express up $1.13 at $59.88.
Among the day’s big movers, Ciena rose $6.81 to $127.56 after the maker of optical network equipment announced a major order from Korea Telecom. Sprint PCS rose $3.50 to $31.50 after Lehman Brothers upgraded its rating of the mobile phone company.
The market’s advance came as world finance officials, facing the twin threats of soaring oil prices and a weak European currency, gathered in Prague for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The finance ministers spent the weekend putting together joint statements intended to show their resolve to deal with the two problems, which are threatening current global prosperity.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a narrow margin on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume came to 977.52 million shares, down from 1.17 billion at the same point on Friday.
Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 1.1 percent. Germany’s DAX index was up 0.72 percent, Britain’s FT-SE 100 was up 0.83 percent, and France’s CAC-40 was up 1.24 percent.
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