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Reply #19: U.S. stocks down on earnings misses, Iraq tensions [View All]

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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:45 AM
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19. U.S. stocks down on earnings misses, Iraq tensions
http://www.forbes.com/markets/newswire/2004/04/07/rtr13...

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"Indexes are lower due to negative news from Seagate Technology, which is hurting the technology area," said Tom Schrader, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Legg Mason Wood Walker. "Alcoa is a big bellwether stock, and since its down 2 percent, it's dragging down the industrials."

"Outside of that, the markets kind of meandering. It's kind of directionless," Schrader added.

Stock investors are anxiously waiting to see if first-quarter earnings can measure up to the lofty expectations built up in recent weeks -- expectations that have helped put the three major market gauges back within striking distance of their 2004 highs.

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Geopolitical issues, which had faded into the background for Wall Street in recent weeks as investors focused on the outlook for the economy and corporate earnings, have begun to re-emerge amid a rising wave of violence in Iraq.

U.S.-led forces battled Sunni guerrillas in two cities on Wednesday and grappled with a radical Shiite uprising in a two-front war that has killed more than 30 soldiers and 160 Iraqis in three days.

"The market appears to be at a tipping point related to the tensions building in Iraq," said Keith Keenan, vice president of institutional trading at brokerage Wall Street Access. "Any further headlines, which are likely to be, unfortunately, negative, could weigh on the market."

A report on import and export prices, data that Wall Street usually gives little more than a cursory glance, caught the attention of some investors after the March figures soared well above expectations.

Import prices rose 0.9 percent, above the 0.5 percent gain economists had expected, heightening fears inflation may be working its way through the system and could force the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates soon.
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