Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Monday, June 11, 2001

Stock selloff continues
as economy languishes

By Amy Baldwin
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Stock prices fell again today as investors, who sold stocks sharply lower Friday, retreated further amid uneasiness about depressed earnings and the anemic economy.

Technology issues, which have suffered the most as the economy slowed, were among the weakest.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day down 54.91 at 10,922.09 after dropping 113 points Friday. The Nasdaq composite index fell 44.32 to 2,170.78 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 10.57 to 1,254.39.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,812 down, 1,234 up and 223 unchanged. Volume was 853.24 million shares vs. 721.68 million on Friday, when a computer glitch forced the NYSE to suspend trading in the morning for about 90 minutes.

The NYSE composite index fell 4.43 to 637.37, the American Stock Exchange composite index lost 6.61 to 928.34 and the Russell 2000 index fell 4.71 to 506.93.

The Treasury's 10-year note rose 15/32 to 97 26/32; its yield fell 7 basis points to 5.29 percent. The 30-year bond jumped 21/32 to 95 17/32; its yield fell 5 basis points to 5.68 percent.

The market, which had a big rally in April and early May, has been giving back some of its gains and experiencing lighter volume since late last month as investors await signs that the economy is recovering, benefitting from the five interest rate cuts made this year by the Federal Reserve.

In the near term, analysts say investors see little reason to buy because upcoming second-quarter earnings will be quite weak and third-quarter results likely will be even worse. With no positive news to inspire them, investors have reduced their commitment to the stock market and kept trading volume light.

"Everybody is kind of sitting around now waiting for the good news," said Barry Berman, head trader for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee.

Until earnings and the economy begin to strengthen, investors aren't willing to do much buying at the higher prices generated from the spring run-up, during which the Dow hit 11,337.92 on May 21, its highest close this year. At that time, the Dow had jumped nearly 21 percent from its year-to-date low close of 9,389.48 on March 22.

"If you didn't buy when the market rallied three weeks ago, why would you buy now at higher prices?" Berman said. "Companies are still laying people off and the economy isn't getting any better. That's why (the rally) ran out of gas."

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