Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Uncertainty Causes Stocks to End Lower

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Uncertainty Causes Stocks to End Lower

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks ended Wednesday's session mixed but mostly lower, as investors took profits amid uncertainty about the direction of the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended 23.17 points lower at 4,462.03, after being down all day. On the Big Board, declining issues led advancers by about 3 to 2. Volume was moderately heavy at 327.73 million shares as of 4 p.m., down from 339.99 million in the previous session.

Most broad-market indexes ended lower. The NYSE's composite index fell 1.27 to 286.96. The Standard Poor's 500-stock index fell 2.42 to 533.13. At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index rose 0.69 to 488.57.

But the Nasdaq composite index rose 2.18 to 881.58, mostly on the strength of computer issues.

Traders and analysts attributed the market's weakness to normal profit-taking after huge runs to the upside.

"The market has moved up now close to 26 weeks without more than a 2.5 percent correction," said Ricky Harrington, technical analyst at Interstate-Johnson Lane in Charlotte, N.C.

"We have to expect a correction at any time, and trying to call it is certainly a futile exercise." A correction is a decline that follows a rally.

But Harrington added that there is also some confusion about the outlook on the economy.

"There is now beginning to be a tug of war. On one hand, there are low interest rates and the possibility of lower interest rates." That could make stocks more attractive relative to bonds, spur consumption and enhance price-earnings ratios, all of which would be bullish for stocks.

"And yet," Harrington said, "the very reason for those (low) interest rates is a slowdown in business, and that could affect earnings."

The stock market was also rattled when Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the economy is slowing significantly, although it is poised for expansion. …

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