- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) — Prices on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market ended sharply lower Monday, amid continued geopolitical risks, worries over the U.S. economy and a continued weakening of the dollar.

The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average fell 171.85, or 2.22 percent, to 7,568.18, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index dropped 26.92 points, or 2.06 percent, to close at 1,278.37.

The broader New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 116.03 points to 4,529.07, the Standard & Poor's 500 slid 21.41 points to 807.48, the American Stock Exchange composite index ended down 9.91 points to close at 816.14 and the Wilshire 5000 Index fell 185.08 points to close at 7,772.24.

Volume was 1.44 billion shares on the NYSE and 1.07 billion on Nasdaq.

Markets remained unnerved over the continuing Iraq crisis and there were growing concerns over North Korea, after that country test-fired another missile over the Sea of Japan.

Growing international tension caused a sell-off in the dollar, which hit a four-year low against the euro and a seven-month low against the yen.

Markets also continued to digest last week's U.S. unemployment figures, which showed more than 300,000 jobs lost in February as the unemployment rate rose from 5.7 percent to 5.8 percent.

U.S. Treasury prices rose. The 10-year bond was 21/32 stronger to 102 19/32. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction of its price, was down to 3.56 percent from 3.64 percent late Friday.

In Europe, stock prices were markedly lower in all three major European bourses. The London International Stock Exchange's blue-chip FTSE-100 index was down 44.30 points, or 1.27 percent, at 3,447.30, while the German DAX index was 86.92 points, or 3.57 percent, lower at 2,344.74, and the French CAC-40 index was down 49.74 points, or 1.93 percent, at 2,525.17.

Concerns about Iraq also continued to take a toll on the Asian stock markets Monday. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 1.3 percent to 8,042.26, a new 20-year low. Shares also fell in Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

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