- The Washington Times - Monday, October 10, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell yesterday as Delphi Corp.’s bankruptcy filing and lowered outlooks at Northrop Grumman Corp. and Xilinx Inc. set a gloomy tone on Wall Street ahead of the upcoming third-quarter earnings season.

The market extended last week’s losses as investors grew anxious for earnings reports to gauge the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and to get a glimpse of where the economy is headed as companies forecast future results. Stocks took a hit after Northrop said the storms would hurt its 2005 profit, while chip-maker Xilinx pegged its sales below previous targets.

The market received some good news after the close, when aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. posted a profit that beat analysts’ forecasts despite pressure from soaring energy costs and lower aluminum prices.

Wall Street had some early support from a $7.5 billion acquisition in the insurance sector and a upgrade at International Business Machines Corp., but the major indexes slipped into negative territory after each losing more than 2 percent last week.

Volume was light as many traders took the Columbus Day holiday off. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 53.55, or 0.52 percent, to 10,238.76, its lowest close since mid-May. Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 8.57, or 0.72 percent, to 1,187.33, while the Nasdaq Composite Index sank 11.43, or 0.55 percent, to 2,078.92.

The U.S. government bond market was closed yesterday for the Columbus Day holiday.

A barrel of light crude slid 4 cents to $61.80 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wall Street analysts predict double-digit earnings growth for the third quarter, although estimates have been pared back amid inflation concerns and fears of an economic downturn.

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