- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Spooked by weak sales predictions and accounting investigations in the telecommunications and technology sectors, investors collected profits yesterday and left the stock market with a mixed close.
Tech stocks retreated, but blue chips scratched out small gains. Analysts said investors, after pushing tech prices higher last week, were shifting away from the volatile sector until earnings prospects improved or stocks became cheaper.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 21.11, or 0.2 percent, at 10,632.35. It was also the Dow's second straight day to close above 10,600 a level last reached in July.
Broader stock indicators fell. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 32.37, or 1.7 percent, to 1,897.12. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.68, or 0.2 percent, to 1,165.58.
Although yesterday's selling coincided with disappointing news, many analysts had predicted a pullback. Stocks had been moving higher steadily all month, with the Nasdaq advancing 7 percent last week, leading to speculation that Wall Street was ready for some retrenchment.
Stock prices also remain a concern. Although Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said last week that a recovery from the recession "is already well under way," jittery investors are worried that the recovery will be muted and profits lackluster. They fear that some stocks have risen too much, given the uncertainty.


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