Dow Jones falls 48.05 to 5,503.32 Investors are concerned that this year's rally overestimated profits


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell yesterday as investors grew concerned that this year's rally overestimated prospects for lower interest rates and healthy profits.

The Dow Jones industrial average skidded 48.05 to 5,503.32, bringing its three-day decline to 95 points. Before Wednesday, the 30-stock average was up 9.5 percent for this year -- more than triple the gain for the same period in 1995.

The decline was led by Eastman Kodak Co., down $2.125 at $75.125; Sears, Roebuck & Co., down $2.125 at $42.75; and Exxon Corp., down $1.25 at $81.50.

Several series of computer-guided "sell" orders helped drive stocks lower.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3.34 to 647.98 as health-care, retail and insurance issues fell. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.17 to 1,090.71, led by Amgen Inc., and Parametric Technology Co. and American Power Conversion Corp.

For the past five days, the Russell 2,000 index of small companies was down a mere 0.02 percent, while the S&P 500 index dropped 1.22 percent. Yesterday, Circle K Corp. jumped $7.75 to $28.875 and Renaissance Communications Corp. climbed $1.625 to $25.125, pushing the Russell up 0.84 to a record 321.59.

Among other indexes, the Wilshire 5,000 index fell 20.60 to 6343.28 and the American Stock Exchange market value index rose 1.48 to 561.84.

Some 1,075 stocks rose and 1,277 fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 445.57 million shares changed hands, above the 410.4 million traded Thursday.

Dial Corp. slipped 50 cents to $31.625 after the maker of Dial Soap and Brillo pads said it will split its consumer products unit and its services divisions -- a sign analysts are concerned that the company's parts won't be worth more on their own.

The move echoes similar ones made by AT&T Corp., ITT Corp. and Minnesota, Mining & Manufacturing Co. to separate their businesses. Shares of AT&T climbed 10 percent the day after the company announced in September its plan to split into three companies.

Drug companies also fell. Pfizer Inc. fell 87.5 cents to $68; Merck & Co. lost 87.5 cents to $68.75; and Eli Lilly & Co. dropped $1.375 to $62.25.

Hewlett-Packard Co. led computer shares higher. The stock jumped $9 to $95.25 after the computer maker announced earnings grew a greater-than-expected 31 percent in demand for personal computers. The company earned $790 million, or $1.50 a share. Analysts expected Hewlett-Packard to earn $1.36, according to a survey by IBES International Inc.

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