- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) Wall Street gave up all but the last of its New Year's rally yesterday, falling for a fifth straight session as investors unloaded shares after tepid earnings from J.P. Morgan Chase and Eastman Kodak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had risen nearly 501 points early this month on hopes of better prospects for 2003, fell 124 points and sacrificed the last of its advance. The Dow's gains were wiped out over the past five days amid growing pessimism of a sluggish economy.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index, the benchmark followed by professional traders, also lost all of its gains for the year, while the Nasdaq Composite Index clung to about 24 points of its 2003 advance.
"Weighing heavily is not so much the earnings, but a sour look from many CEOs and companies in the way they view the following year," said Charles Pradilla, chief investment strategist at SG Cowen Securities. "They're saying the outlook isn't that good to warrant an acceleration of capital spending."
The Dow closed down 124.17, or 1.5 percent, at 8,318.73, for a five-day loss of nearly 524 points. It was the lowest close since Dec. 27, when blue-chip stocks finished at 3,303.78.
The S&P; 500 fell 1.5 points below its Dec. 31 level, losing 9.26, or 1 percent, to 878.36.
The Nasdaq fell 4.77, or 0.4 percent, to 1,359.48.
Dow industrial Eastman Kodak dropped $4.41 to $33.18 after the photography company reported quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street's estimates.
J.P. Morgan, another Dow stock, declined 72 cents to $24.70 after the financial company reported a quarterly loss wider than analysts expected.
Stocks have slid in recent days amid growing tensions with Iraq and tepid profit outlooks. Analysts say the uncertainties, particularly those regarding war, are creating pessimism even when companies report encouraging earnings.
"We had a more optimistic tone into the new year, but now we're getting into earnings season and we haven't been getting enough guidance to sink our teeth into," said Bryan Piskorowski, market commentator at Prudential Securities.
"The inertia really stems from Iraq," he added. "Not only Wall Street but corporate America have their hands tied from the situation in Iraq."


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