Stocks Finish Lower

Auto stocks were the big losers on news of Delphi's bankruptcy filing

Stocks moved lower on Monday, following the steep losses last week, led by auto stocks after Delphi (DPH ) filed for bankruptcy. The bond market was closed for the Columbus Day holiday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.55 points, or 0.52%, to 10,238.76. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 8.57 points, or 0.72%, to 1,187.33. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 11.43 points, or 0.55%, to 2,078.92.

In the energy markets, November West Texas Intermediate crude oil finished slightly lower at $61.80 a barrel.

Among stocks in the news, Delphi (DPH ) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Saturday. The largest U.S. auto parts maker has been struggling with soaring raw materials and labor costs. The company named Robert Dellinger as CFO (former CFO for Sprint), succeeding John Sheehan, who was named chief restructuring officer.

General Motors (GM ) expects no immediate effect on its global automotive operations from Delphi's bankruptcy filing. The shares were downgraded by Banc of America, which sees an increased chance of bankruptcy for the automaker. S&P Ratings Services downgraded its debt ratings on GM.

Refco (RFX ) shares tumbled after the company says financials for fiscal years 2002 (ending February) through 2005 and first quarter of fiscal 2006 should no longer be relied upon due to an investigation surrounding certain receivables owed to the company by an entity controlled by CEO Phillip Bennett, who has taken a leave of absence.

In merger news, Jefferson-Pilot (JP ) agreed to be acquired by Lincoln National (LNC ) for $55.96 per share in cash, in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion.

Goody's Family Clothing (GDYS ) agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners for $8 cash per share.

Among tech stocks, Xilinx (XLNX ) cut its flat to up 4% sequential second-quarter sales forecast to down 1%-2%. The programmable logic devices maker notes September turns business was less than forecast, while sales from companies with manufacturing operations in the Asia-Pacific area decreased double digits sequentially.

Yahoo (YHOO ) announced its entry into podcasting with beta release of Yahoo! Podcasts.

Third-quarter earnings season starts this week. Kicking off the earnings calendar on Monday will be Alcoa (AA ), followed by Apple Computer (AAPL ) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD ) on Tuesday, and many others.

On the economic front, the bulk of the reports will come at the end of the week. The trade report will be released Thursday, followed by a full slate Friday that includes the consumer price index, retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilization, and University of Michigan consumer sentiment.

Treasury Market

On Monday, the bond markets were closed for Columbus Day.

World Markets

European stock markets were trading higher on Monday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was up 12.2 points, or 0.23%, at 5,374.5.

Germany's DAX index gained 15.02 points, or 0.3%, to 5,022.79. In Paris, the CAC 40 index rose 7.43 points, or 0.16%, to 4,536.22.

Asian markets finished with gains on Monday. In Japan, the market was closed for Health Sports Day.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 50.98 points, or 0.34%, to 14,898.77 aided by bargain hunting after steep losses last week. But gains were accompanied by a big drop in volume. Caution ahead of a national holiday Tuesday limited market upside. China Mobile, CNOOC, and HSBC Holdings led the Hang Seng higher by index points, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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