Posted at 12:12 p.m., Friday, August 30, 2002
Dow down slightly in pre-holiday trades
By Amy Baldwin
Analysts shrugged off today's trading, which came amid very light volume ahead of the holiday. The session capped a lackluster week that was notable mostly for profit-taking from five weeks of advances; it also ended a month in which the stock market started showing some meaningful signs of health after its prolonged slump.
"We are really going to start over after Labor Day and sink our teeth into good trading. Will it be the result of economic news, we don't know," said Stephen Carl, principal and head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group. "We have to have strong economic numbers and strong earnings numbers."
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 7.49, or 0.1 percent, at 8,663.50, according to preliminary calculations. In posting a fourth straight loss, the Dow gave up an earlier gain of 112 and ended a five-week winning stretch.
Broader indexes also ended today lower. The Nasdaq composite index fell 20.86, or 1.6 percent, to 1,314.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 1.73, or 0.2 percent, to 916.07.
The three major market gauges finished the week lower, ending a five-week winning streak for the Dow and S&P and a three-week run for the Nasdaq. For the week, the Dow lost 2.4 percent, the Nasdaq declined 4.8 percent and the S&P fell 2.7 percent.
Although the market ended August by declining, stocks nonetheless showed some solid signs of life during the month and had many market watchers starting to believe that Wall Street had at last reached a bottom after months of selling.
The Dow ended the month down 8.4 percent, while the Nasdaq was off 9.8 percent. But the broadest of the three indexes, the S&P 500, rose 4.4 percent.
Among the economic reports today, analysts said investors were heartened by news that manufacturing activity increased in the Midwest as the Purchasing Management Association of Chicago index of area business activity rose to 54.9 in August. The index is considered a harbinger of the Institute for Supply Management's national survey on manufacturing, scheduled to be released Tuesday.
Overall, the data on the economy was mixed.
The Commerce Department reported that while consumers increased their spending by 1 percent in July, their incomes remained flat because of a stagnant job market.
Technology suffered the brunt of today's selling, tumbling on negative developments among wireless, chip and networking companies.