Closing Market Report

Star-Bulletin news services

Monday, January 14, 2002

Stocks fall as investors
brace for earnings

By Amy Baldwin
Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Investors succumbed to worries about earnings and sold stocks sharply lower today while they awaited fourth-quarter results that will begin in earnest this week. The selloff resulted in the Dow industrials' first six-session losing streak since late 2000.

"Until there is a better fix on the state of earnings reports, it looks we will face a cautious investment constituency," said Alan Ackerman, executive vice president of Fahnestock & Co.

Analysts expect trading to be choppy for the remainder of January as slumping profits remind investors of the weak economy. Investors, who don't expect earnings to improve until the second quarter, are expected to deal with disappoint- ments by taking profits from the market's big year-end rally.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 96.11 to 9,891.42. The Dow has lost 368.32, or 3.6 percent, in six straight losing sessions, a streak not seen since Oct. 12, 2000. But analysts weren't concerned, saying the losses are natural following the market's huge rebound from the lows that followed the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Dow fell for five straight sessions after the attacks.

The broader market also fell today. The Nasdaq composite index lost 31.72 to 1,990.74 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 7.19 to 1,138.41.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,892 down, 1,251 up and 189 unchanged. Volume was 1.24 billion shares. The NYSE composite index lost 3.63 to 579.04, the American Stock Exchange composite index fell 4.28 to 829.79 and the Russell 2000 index fell 6.93 to 483.01.

The Treasury's 2-year note fell 232 to 100 2932; its yield rose 4 basis points to 2.76 percent. The 10-year note fell 232 to 100 3132; its yield gained 1 basis point to 4.87 percent. The 30-year bond lost 232 to 99 3132; its yield rose 1 basis point to 5.38 percent.

Analysts said today's weakness was also prompted by comments Friday from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who said the economy is stabilizing but still faces significant risks.

The market's losses were widespread. IBM fell $2.26 to $118.05, and Juniper Networks declined $1.16 to $18.10. J.P. Morgan Chase fell $1.03 to $37.31, and Yahoo! decreased $1.15 to $19.01. All are to release earnings later in the week.

Retailers were lower ahead of the Commerce Department's report on December sales due out tomorrow. Target stumbled 84 cents to $39.46.

Kmart fell 14 percent, down 46 cents at $2.84, after its credit rating was downgraded further into junk status late Friday by Moody's Investors Service. Kmart's stock lost 35 percent last week after it reported weak holiday sales and talked of cash flow problems that could require more financing.

Wall Street boasted a few winners, however. Fannie Mae rose 95 cents to $79 after posting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.40 a share, a penny higher than expectations.

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