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Dow Opens Down 23, Nasdaq Off 5

October 2, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stock prices are lower in early trading as investors take profits after yesterday’s big gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 23 points in the opening minutes of the session. Losing issues on the New York Stock Exchange hold a 9-7 lead over gainers.

The Nasdaq Composite is off five points and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index is down nearly three points.

Stocks are struggling after the market soared yesterday on news of continued expansion in the manufacturing sector. The Dow rose 194 points by yesterday’s close.

On the economic front this morning, new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 13,000 last week to 399,000. That’s the highest level in two weeks.

The Labor Department says about half of the increase was due to laid-off workers who had been prevented from filing because of Hurricane Isabel finally making it to state offices to apply for benefits. Tomorrow morning, the government reports on the monthly employment situation.

This morning, the market gets another bit of economic news at 10 a-m eastern time when the government releases factory orders data for August.

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