Stocks Finish Down

A precipitous drop in consumer confidence and expectations of more weak data ahead hurt Wall Street

Major equity indexes closed lower, but above the worst levels of the session. Buyers were reluctant to move in ahead of Wednesday's preliminary third-quarter gross domestic product report, which is expected to show a decline of 1.2%.

The latest government warnings about more terrorist attacks from Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge also rattled the stock market.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 147.52 points, or 1.59 %, to 9,121.98. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 32.11 points, or 1.89%, to 1,667.41. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 19.30 points, or 1.79%, to 1,059.

Negative economic news pulled down stocks. Consumer confidence dipped in October -- its lowest level in more than seven years -- and retail chain-store sales also fell from a weak ago. Traders will be looking to GDP and October Chicago PMI on Wednesday. On Thursday, personal income will be released for September. NAPM and construction spending also due on Thursday. On Friday, traders will look to the much anticipated October jobs report.

The Dow was being led lower by weakness in Eastman Kodak (EK ), Philip Morris (MO ), McDonald's (MCD ), and Home Depot (HD ), offsetting strength in consumer-products maker Procter & Gamble (PG ), which posted better-than-expected earnings and affirmed guidance for the fourth quarter.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell after analysts downgraded several technology stocks, including Juniper Networks (JNPR ) and Openwave (OPWV ). Another fourth-quarter earnings warning came Tuesday from chipmaker Solectron (SLR ).

Verizon Communications (VRZN ), the No. 1 U.S. local telephone giant, posted a small rise in third quarter earnings before one-time items and cut growth forecasts.

Health insurer Anthem (ATH ) closed at $40 in its first day of trading, up 11% from its IPO price of $36.

In other business news, Ford Motor (F ) CEO Jacques Nasser was pushed out by the company's directors, according to press reports, and will be succeeded as chief executive by William Clay Ford, the current board chairman.

Treasury Market

Safe-haven demand continued to pace solid gains in Treasuries Tuesday. Indeed, Treasuries across the board posted new price highs for the year in the wake of a drop in consumer confidence, government warnings of a near-term terrorist threat, further erosion in equities, expectations of more weak data ahead and growing suspicion of a half-point interest-rate cut next week.

World Markets

European markets are lower Tuesday as both job cuts and profit warnings hurt investor sentiment. Cellular telecoms were hard hit as were chemical producers. In London, the FTSE 100 index fell 82.30 points, or 1.62%, to 5,000.60. The Paris CAC 40 index dropped 131.31 points, or 3.00%, to 4,251.93. In Germany, the DAX index lost 116.37 points, or 2.50%, to 4,543.98.

In Asia, markets ended lower. Japan's Nikkei saw a third straight day of losses after record jobless numbers were released, while bank stocks took it on the chin. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 99.49 points, or 0.94%, to 10,512.82. Canon topped the downturn in the sector, after forecasting a 14% decline in net profit for the year ending March 2002. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 101.66 points, or 1.00%, to 10,076.43.

By Suzanne Robitaille

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