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Stock Prices Firm in Early Trading

April 23, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stock prices are firm in early trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 9 points. Advancing issues on the New York Stock Exchange hold a 3-1 lead over decliners.

The Nasdaq Composite Index is up a fraction and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index is up 1.5.

After a strong surge Tuesday, stocks are taking a bit of a timeout, despite a large number of better-than-expected earnings reports.

That includes results from AT&T, AOL Time Warner and Lucent Technologies.

Stocks had rallied in the previous session, helped by indications that the Bush administration is prepared to have Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan stay on for another term. There is also a feeling among some analysts that the economy will pull out of the sluggishness created by the approach of the war against Iraq.

On the economics beat, the fed delivers the Beige Book survey later today. That is prepared for the policy-setting session early next month.

There was also word this morning from U.S. officials that crude oil has begun to flow again from southern Iraq for the first time since the start of the war.

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