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Stocks Sink on Earnings Anxiety

April 2, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Anxiety over earnings and concern about the Middle East drove stock prices lower Tuesday as investors took the safe approach of locking in recent profits.

In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 59.92, or 0.6 percent, at 10,302.78 after falling 41.24 Monday.

The broader market also declined. The Nasdaq composite index fell 26.39, or 1.4 percent, to 1,836.23 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index decreased 7.54, or 0.7 percent, to 1,139.00.

Stocks continued a decline that began Monday on concerns about tension rising between Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday night that Israel was ``at war.″ Investors are also anxious about first-quarter earnings, which companies begin releasing in earnest this month.

Circuit City fell 12 cents to $18 after posting earnings that met analysts’ expectations. Aluminum products maker Alcoa, which on Friday will be the first Dow industrial to release results, declined 27 cents to $37.37.

Technology, the last sector most analysts expect to emerge from recession, also fell. Microsoft fell $1.46 to $58.92, while Intel was down 48 cents at $30.69.

The Russell 2000 index, the barometer of smaller company stocks, fell 2.71, or 0.5 percent, to 501.79.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average finished up 1.6 percent. In afternoon trading in Europe, Germany’s DAX index was down 1.5 percent, France’s CAC-40 fell 1.1 percent, and Britain’s FT-SE 100 declined 0.4 percent.

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