Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stocks Take Their Hardest Fall in 6 Weeks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stocks Take Their Hardest Fall in 6 Weeks

Article excerpt

U.S. stocks posted their biggest drop in six weeks Thursday as investors grew less optimistic that interest rates will tumble and profits will surge in 1996.

After three straight record days, the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped as shares of banks retreated. Some investors decided that this year's stock market rally has been built on lofty profit expectations that may not be met.

"This is nearly a perfect environment for equities - how can you top it?" said Jim Griffin, investment strategist at Aeltus Investment Management Inc., which oversees about $34 billion. "The answer is, you can't."

The Dow industrials slid 39.74 to 5159.39, the biggest drop since a 49.86-point slide on Oct. 26. Before Thursday's drop, the 30-stock average was up 2.5 percent for the past four days - eclipsing its 2.1 percent gain for all of 1994.

The S&P 500 also retreated from a record, sliding 4.01 to 616.17. It was the index's first drop in five days and the biggest one-day decline since Oct. …

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