Stocks End Lower ahead of Microsoft Bombshell

After the bell, the software giant stunned the market by declaring its first-ever cash dividend. But it also offered a gloomy outlook on tech spending

Stocks finished in solidly negative territory Thursday on investor fears that the U.S. may be drawing closer to war with Iraq. A sour tone from banks on their expectations in 2003 and the signs of weaker earnings in other sectors helped drag the major indexes lower.

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