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Wall Street Reacts Badly to Rising Oil Prices

Associated Press
Saturday, January 22, 2005; Page E03

NEW YORK, Jan. 21 -- The major stock indicators fell to their lowest level of the new year Friday as oil prices rose.

A barrel of light crude settled at $48.53, up $1.22, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

An 18 percent increase in earnings at General Electric failed to hold investors' attention for long.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 78.48, or 0.75 percent, to 10,392.99. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was down 7.54, or 0.64 percent, at 1167.87, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 11.61, or 0.57 percent, to 2034.27.

For the week, the Dow fell 1.56 percent, the S&P was down 1.41 percent, and the Nasdaq dropped 2.57 percent.

The last time the major indicators sustained losses so long was a four-week stretch in late June through late July. The Dow and S&P 500 haven't started January with three down weeks since 1977. Profit-taking, concerns over inflation and some high-profile earnings disappointments -- despite a strong overall earnings season -- contributed to the slump.

Two Dow companies were upgraded by analysts Friday, with Verizon Communications boosted to a "buy" by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup receiving a "buy" rating from Merrill Lynch. Verizon gained 23 cents, to $36.53, and Citigroup was up 16 cents, at $47.93.

Other Indicators

• The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 13.91, to 6996.56; the American Stock Exchange index rose 8.82, to 1414.58; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 1.26, to 611.08.

• Declining issues narrowly outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE, where trading volume fell to 1.64 billion shares, from 1.69 billion on Thursday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, decliners outnumbered advancers by 9 to 7 and volume totaled 2.03 billion, down from 2.21 billion.

• The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose $1.56 per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 4.14 percent, from 4.17 percent on Thursday.

• The dollar fell against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 102.67 yen, down from 103.31 late Thursday, and a euro bought $1.3051, up from $1.2965.

• Gold for current delivery rose to $426.70 a troy ounce, from $422.40 on Thursday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.

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