Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Stocks mostly lower
on anthrax worries

By Lisa Singhania
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Renewed anxiety about the possibility of more terror attacks pressured Wall Street today, resulting in a mixed finish for the market despite some better-than-expected results from Boeing.

Stocks fluctuated on fears the latest spate of anthrax cases will keep Americans at home and further hurt consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy.

Analysts said earnings reports, even the relatively strong ones, are providing little reassurance since companies have yet to say business is improvement.

"There's a fear this (anthrax scare) will really impede the consumer as far any spending going on, "said Charles Pradilla, chief investment strategist at SG Cowen. "While earnings are important ... they really pale in comparison to events like this.

"Especially when earnings still aren't anything to get excited about."

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 69.75 at 9,163.22.

Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.48 to 1,068.61, but the Nasdaq composite index gained 6.37 to 1,652.71.

Declining issues led advancers 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,120 rising, 2,014 falling and 185 unchanged. Volume came to 1.47 billion shares.

The Russell 2000 index fell 3.43 to 421.06. The NYSE composite index fell 5.69 to 552.23. The American Stock Exchange composite index fell 10.71 to 812.30.

Today's selling recalled yesterday's session, when the market was so concerned about the anthrax news it disregarded some relatively positive earnings from IBM and Intel.

Boeing fell 84 cents to $32.86 on third-quarter earnings a penny ahead of expectations that came with a warning that operations are likely to be weak in coming quarters.

The Dow was also dragged lower by AT&T, which fell 73 cents to $17.90, and ExxonMobil, which lost $1.08 to $40.40.

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