Stocks fall amid concern for earnings prospects Dow declines 13.96 points

financial firms lead drop

Wall Street

March 31, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell on concern that U.S. companies may report disappointing earnings in coming weeks.

Financial firms such as J. P. Morgan & Co. led the decline.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 13.96 to 8,782.12; the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.89 to 1,093.55; and the Nasdaq composite index fell 4.92 to 1,818.70.

Among other broad market indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small-capitalization stocks slipped 0.91 to 476.24; the Wilshire 5,000 index lost 19.83 to end at 10,423.24; the American Stock Exchange composite index slid 1.88 to 736.45; and the S&P 400 midcap index dropped 1.50 to 365.0.

The Bloomberg Maryland index, which tracks the top 100 stocks in Maryland by market valuation, fell 0.18 to 237.13.

Declining stocks outnumbered those that advanced by a 3-to-2 margin on the New York Stock Exchange in trading of 497 million shares, down from 580 million Friday.

J. P. Morgan fell $2.0625 to $132.4375. Travelers Group Inc., which owns Salomon Smith Barney Holdings Inc., fell $1.50 to $60.50.

Financial companies also were hurt by concern that interest rates will rise and brokerage margins will narrow.

Brokerage stocks fell after Charles Schwab Corp. said it expects commission revenue, its most important source of income, to be hurt by price cuts as customers trade more by computer. Schwab fell $1.0625 to $37.0625, and Merrill Lynch & Co. fell $2.375 to $82.4375.

Oil services shares fell with crude prices on expectations that supply cuts promised by some of the world's biggest producers still will leave a large supply of oil. Cooper Cameron Corp., a well equipment company, fell $1.8125 to $61.6875. Schlumberger Ltd., an oil services company, fell 81.25 cents to $77.

Texaco Inc. rose 87.5 cents to $60.9375 after it said it would buy back up to $1 billion of common stock.

Aluminum Company of America fell $2.50 to $68.25. J. Clarence Morrison, an analyst at Prudential Securities Inc., cut his recommendations on Alcoa and three other aluminum producers because of a projected six-month delay in raising aluminum ingot prices.

Coca-Cola rose $3 to $78.1875 after the world's largest soft-drink maker said it expects first-quarter case sales of its beverages to rise 13 percent to 14 percent worldwide, helped by overseas sales.

Telephone companies rose after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block nationwide deregulation of pay-phone charges. BellSouth Corp. rose $1.50 to $65.3125, and Bell Atlantic Corp. rose 56.25 cents to $101.5625.

Intel Corp. fell $1.50 to $77.375 after saying it would invest $1 billion in plants and equipment in Asia this year because it forecasts "major growth" in the region's personal computer market.

Pub Date: 3/31/98

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