Help push Dow's fall to 10,945

3M, P&G

Companies say growth will slow

average sees first loss in four sessions

Wall Street

April 27, 2000|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

U.S. stocks fell as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. forecast that sales and earnings growth would slow, leading the Dow Jones industrial average to its first loss in four sessions.

"If people aren't pleased with both earnings and revenue, they're taking the skin off these stocks," said Bill Rhodes, chief investment strategist at Williams Capital Group LP. "The ones that are beating [estimates] are going along reasonably well."

The Dow industrials dropped 179.32, or 1.6 percent, to 10,945.50. The Nasdaq fell 81.14, or 2.2 percent, to 3,630.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 16.45, or 1.1 percent, to 1,460.99. Eight stocks fell for every seven that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

The American Stock Exchange composite index edged upward by 0.39 to 896.43. Other broad market indexes were off. The Russell 2000 index, a benchmark of small-cap stocks, slipped 4.79 to 484.24; the Wilshire 5000 index dipped 158.76 to 13,449.27; the New York Stock Exchange composite index shed 4.46 to 654.31; and the S&P 400 midcap index lost 3.52 to 469.73.

The Sun-Bloomberg Maryland index of the top 100 Maryland stocks was off 3.10 to 226.25, led by Aether Systems Inc., down $12.7344 to $113.50, and Visual Networks Inc., off $4.1875 to $38.25.

On the national markets, 3M fell $4.875 to $88.9375, its second straight decline, after the company said profit this year may fall short of analysts' highest estimates. Procter & Gamble Co. fell $3.50 to $60.75. The biggest U.S. maker of household products cut its sales estimate yesterday for the fiscal fourth quarter and said quarterly profit dropped for the first time in nine years on higher costs. The stock, down 44 percent, is the worst performer in the Dow industrials this year.

DuPont fell $2.50 to $49.125, extending yesterday's loss, after its first-quarter profit report sparked concern that second-quarter earnings will be less than forecast.

The Nasdaq composite index fell for the fourth time in five days, after rallying yesterday to its third-biggest gain ever. The index fell as much as 8.2 percent in Monday's session and stands 10.8 percent lower this year.

"People are scared to death, they're scared to pull the trigger on anything," said Michael Palazzi, managing director of Nasdaq sales and trading at CIBC World Markets. "The prevailing feeling is that the market hasn't found a bottom yet."

Orders at U.S. manufacturers for durable goods rose last month for the first time in three months at nearly twice the rate economists had expected, adding to inflation fears, traders said.

"The Fed has said it's going to slow things down," said Gil Knight, principal with Allied Investment Advisers, which manages $13 billion in Baltimore.

Viacom Inc. rose $2.8125 to $54.5625 after the media company topped analysts' estimates and said it's benefiting from higher advertising sales at its cable television networks.

Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc. rose $7.5625 to $64.0625 after the company beat analysts' estimates for second-quarter profit.

McKesson HBOC Inc. declined $1.9375 to $17 after fourth-quarter earnings fell short of analysts' forecasts. McKesson's 7.9 percent drop made it the largest percentage decliner in the S&P 500.

Amgen Inc. rose $2.9375 to $57.25 after the biotechnology company won a procedural ruling in a legal battle to block Transkaryotic Therapies Inc. from selling a version of its top-selling drug, the anemia treatment Epogen. Transkaryotic fell $4.125 to $28.

Oxford Health Plans Inc. rose $3.4375 to $19.3125 after the company, one of the biggest New York-area health insurers, said first-quarter net income jumped more than sevenfold from a year ago.

Chevron Corp. rose $1.50 to $86.3125 after the second-largest U.S. oil company topped analysts' estimates and said first-quarter earnings rose almost fourfold.

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