Stocks take a beating on disappointing data
By Amy Baldwin
NEW YORK A spate of bad news about the economy, including sluggish productivity growth and disappointing retail sales, hit Wall Street hard yesterday and sent stocks falling sharply.
"Everyone is definitely looking at the data on the economy, and they really want to see some glimmers of hope that we are going to get a pickup in profit growth," said Joseph Keating, chief investment officer at AmSouth Asset Management in Birmingham, Ala.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 141.42, or 1.7 percent, to 8,283.70. The loss wiped out Wednesday's 117-point gain, the Dow's only advance in seven sessions.
The broader market also dropped sharply. The Nasdaq composite index sank 41.31, or 3.2 percent, to 1,251.00, its fifth loss in seven days.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 14.25, or 1.6 percent, to 879.15, its sixth loss in seven days.
Analysts said investors are also nervous about the possibility of a war with Iraq and the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.