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Markets & Finance

Stocks Finish Lower

Despite a positive start, profit takers moved into the markets late Thursday to help the major indexes close lower. Investors weighed a better-than-expected report on the labor market and a fresh round of third quarter earnings results.

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 176.93 points, or 2.08%, to 8,317.34. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index slipped 21.56 points, or 1.63%, to 1,298.67, hurt by weakness in techs. And the broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was off 13.64 points, or 1.52%, to 882.50, led by losses among financials, banks, pharmaceuticals, and software makers.

In economic news, the Labor Department said new claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week by 25,000, below the key 400,000 mark for the second time this month, according to wire-service reports.

On the earnings front, AOL Time Warner (AOL) posted a third quarter profit. The company also said it would restate two years of results -- cutting $190 million in revenues -- due to accounting problems at its embattled America Online division, according to news reports.

Eastman Kodak (EK) reported a higher quarterly profit that matched results in its preliminary report on Oct. 17. The company also said it plans to slash up to 1,700 more jobs.

Treasury Market

U.S. Treasuries closed higher, as equities struggled. On Oct. 25, the markets will look to new economic data for direction. Highlights include durable goods orders, new-home sales and existing-home sales, all for September. Also, the University of Michigan will issue its consumer sentiment index for October.

World Markets

European markets finished higher. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was up 96.80 points, or 2.42%, to 4,103.70. In France, the CAC 40 added 82.90 points, or 2.77%, to 3,075.13. And in Germany, the DAX Index gained 74.59 points, or 2.47%, to 3,090.01.

In Asia, the markets posted losses. The Nikkei fell 100.22 points, or 1.15%, to 8,614.30. In Hong Kong, the market slipped 17.16 points, or 0.18%, to 9,787.49.

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