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Stocks Expected to Open Lower

October 18, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks were set to open lower Friday as the market takes some profits after a week of gains.

``A little pause to reflect will be positive to the up cycle,″ said Al Goldman, chief market strategist for A.G. Edwards. ``Otherwise, you build up excesses that would need to be corrected.″

As Friday is also an option expiration session, trading should be volatile, he added.

After Thursday’s gains, weaker European bourses, as well as negative U.S. futures, also point to a slack opening.

London’s FTSE 100 recently slid 2.0% to 4087, Paris’ CAC-40 lost 2.3% to 3109 and Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax skidded 2.1% to 3107.

Dow futures recently lost 60 points while the Nasdaq futures fell 8.5 points. Futures contracts for the Standard & Poor’s 500 are lower by 6.5 points.

Asian markets fared a bit better. The blue-chip Hang Seng Index ended its fifth consecutive session of rises, gaining 0.4%, or 36.92 points, at 9613.07. Tokyo’s Nikkei finished up 126.25 points at 9086.13.

The Dow Jones Indicative Average, which measures actual trades of the industrial average’s 30 components overseas, increased by 11.11 at 8286.15.

Although Goldman sees a weaker opening, he predicts a moderately higher close.

Microsoft Corp.’s earnings just may help the market, he said. The computer company’s fiscal first-quarter net income doubled and revenue rose 26% as the expiration of an upgrade program sparked sales of its Windows and Office software.

Expected economic data would only move the market if it proved unusually poor, Goldman believes.

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