- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) Wall Street had little reaction yesterday to President Bush's proposal to cut taxes, as investors collected some profits from the market's big three-day advance and left stocks narrowly mixed.
Analysts said the market had already factored in the proposed cuts during its rally. Downbeat outlooks from retailers and a disappointing report on factory orders also pressured stocks.
"The market had demonstrated such significant strength in the prior days that a more muted response [to the tax proposal] was probably not surprising. It also remains to be seen how much of the package will be passed by Congress and when," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist and senior market strategist at Banc of America Capital Management. "But the potential impact on the economy could be quite positive."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 32.98, or 0.4 percent, at 8,740.59.
Analysts said the Dow's slippage was mostly a result of investors cashing in profits after Monday's 171-point gain and Thursday's 265-point rally.
The broader market's gauges were mixed. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 10.25, or 0.7 percent, to 1,431.57, bringing the tech-dominated index back above its post-September 11, 2001 low of 1,423.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 6.08, or 0.7 percent, to 922.93.
Mr. Bush presented a proposal to slash taxes by $674 billion over 10 years. The two major elements of his proposal called for the total elimination of the federal tax investors pay on their stock dividends and an immediate acceleration retroactive to Jan. 1 of the tax cuts previously scheduled to take effect in 2004 and 2006.
The Bush administration and much of Wall Street believe lower tax rates will spur investment and consumer spending.
"That is going to bolster support for the market," said Chris Johnson, manager of quantitative analysis at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, of the impending tax-cut proposal.
Still, yesterday, the market was uneasy about a report from the Commerce Department that orders to U.S. factories fell by 0.8 percent from October to November, greater than the 0.6 percent decrease analysts were forecasting.
And the retailing sector was down on pessimistic earnings outlooks. Gymboree fell $1.98 to $13.92 and Tiffany declined 47 cents to $25.05 after each company lowered its fourth-quarter estimates. Gymboree also cut its full-year estimate.
Furniture makers fell after Credit Suisse First Boston downgraded a string of them. LaZBoy, which also operates retail stores, declined $1.35 to $23.40.
Among yesterday's gainers, EMC advanced 67 cents to $7.47 after the data-storage company raised its fourth-quarter revenue projections.
Other winners included dividend-paying stocks, particularly blue chips. IBM soared $2.41 to $86 and Philip Morris climbed $1.62 to $41.13.

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