- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

NEW YORK Stocks fell back yesterday as wary investors collected profits from Wall Street's first two-day advance since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Analysts said the retreat was to be expected, given the week's earlier gains and the troubled economy.
"Obviously, we've had some slippage, but if we compare where we are today to where we were last week this isn't a significant sell-off," said Michael Strauss, managing director at Commonfund. "The market is trying to bottom. The economy continues to be the battleground, and we're getting some weakness associated with the terrorist attacks."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 92.58 to 8,567.39, giving back nearly a quarter of its 424-point advance of Monday and Tuesday.
The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 37.60 to 1,464.04, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 5.23 at 1,007.04.
Many on Wall Street are hesitant to make any big commitments until they have a better idea of the form and timing of U.S. retaliation for the assaults on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
"You don't know what might happen Saturday, if that might be when retaliation or something happens, and how that will affect the market," said Chris Wolfe, equity-market strategist for J.P. Morgan Private Bank. "So you don't want to take many chances."
Those concerns, as well as profit-taking from Monday's big rally that sent the Dow up 368 points, appeared to drive much of yesterday's trading.
Among tech stocks, IBM dropped $3.15 to $91.30 and Sun Microsystems fell 25 cents to $8.44 a loss of about 3 percent for each after Goldman Sachs cut their earnings estimates on fears companies would have less to spend on both firms' products as they recovered from the assaults.
Reaction to the economic fallout wasn't all negative.
Delta Air Lines gained 34 cents to $24.86 on news of 13,000 job cuts, about 15 percent of its work force, because of declining air travel following the terrorist attacks.
The other light buying was concentrated in sectors considered less risky in times of uncertainty, including pharmaceuticals and consumer goods. Johnson & Johnson rose $1.18 to $54.12, while Procter & Gamble climbed 13 cents to $71.12.
"Are you going to change your food consumption or amount of shampoo you buy because of the economy? No," Mr. Strauss said. "But you might change your mind about luxury items."
Oil-stocks prices were weak, but not directly because of terrorist worries. Despite some concerns that a Middle East crisis could hurt U.S. oil supplies and access, analysts said, the sector fell on investors' greater fears that the economy might tip into recession, creating less demand.
Poor earnings reports also drove selling. Micron Technology plummeted $3.99 to $17.25, a 19 percent loss, after reporting a fourth-quarter loss twice what analysts were expecting.
Market watchers attributed some of the decline to the usual end-of-quarter trading by fund managers seeking to adjust their portfolios. The third quarter ends Sunday.

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