-- Stocks slumped Wednesday as a worrisome combination -- lower-than-expected retail sales and a disappointing forecast from Intel -- offset upbeat earnings news from McDonald's and other companies.
A string of profit warnings from semiconductor companies have worried the markets for more than a week, and the picture only looked bleaker after chipmaker Intel released its results late Tuesday. The market's tone seemed to temporarily improve after McDonald's midday announcement, but the advance was short-lived. Still, analysts remained optimistic.
"Despite all the worries, I think the earnings numbers will be spectacular," said Joseph V. Battipaglia, chief investment officer at Ryan Beck & Co. "Investors should not get discouraged because of the results of one company."
The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 38.79, or 0.4 percent, to 10,208.80. The Nasdaq composite index fell 16.78, or 0.9 percent, to 1914.88. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index declined 3.67, or 0.3 percent, to 1111.47.
A discouraging report on retail sales held buyers back. Sales at retailers fell 1.1 percent in June, the sharpest decline in 16 months, the Commerce Department said.
Intel sank $2.76, or 10.6 percent, to $23.38, after the company said 2004 profit would be lower than expected as it works through a buildup of inventory.
McDonald's gained $1.11, to $27.79, after the fast-food chain said June sales growth at its restaurants around the world would help it beat Wall Street's earnings estimates for the second quarter.
Juniper Networks gained $2.59, or 11.8 percent, to $24.59, after the network-equipment maker said it expects third-quarter earnings and revenue to come in ahead of analysts' estimates. Genzyme gained $5.50, or 12.4 percent, to $50.00, after the pharmaceutical company beat earnings estimates and projected higher annual sales.
Harrah's Entertainment fell $1.00, to $50.98, on reports that it was close to an acquisition of rival Caesars Entertainment. The deal would make Harrah's the largest gambling company in the world. Caesars rose $2.08, or 14.9 percent, to $16.00.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 15.80, to 6488.80; the American Stock Exchange index rose 6.82, to 1256.87; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 2.95, to 559.74.
* Declining issues narrowly outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE, where trading volume rose to 1.46 billion shares, from 1.2 billion on Tuesday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, decliners outnumbered advancers by 5 to 3 and volume totaled 2.02 billion, up from 1.47 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note fell $1.25 per $1,000 invested, and its yield rose to 4.49 percent, from 4.47 percent on Tuesday.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and fell against the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 108.94 yen, up from 108.85 late Tuesday, and a euro bought $1.2396, up from $1.2327.
* Light, sweet crude oil for August delivery settled at $40.97, up $1.53, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery rose to $405.40 a troy ounce, from $402.00 on Tuesday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.