Stock prices slipped again Thursday after a new round of government economic reports confirmed fears that the U.S. economy is slowing down.
Wholesale prices and industrial production both fell in June and new applications for unemployment benefits jumped last week, data from the Labor Department and Federal Reserve showed.
Both the slip in factory output and the longer lines for jobless benefits were blamed on the auto industry, which is temporarily shutting plants to switch to the 2005 model cars and trucks.
Declining wholesale prices -- usually interpreted as a sign of poor demand -- in this case reflected falling gas prices, which ought to be a plus for the economy.
Wall Street ultimately didn't find much solace in those explanations. After swinging several times between gains and losses, all three major indexes closed down for the day.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped almost 46 points to 10,163.16.
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index lost 5 points, closing at 1,106.69.
The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index lost only two points, closing at 1,912.71, but that was its fourth loss in a row and the eighth in the 10 trading days since the second quarter began.
After the bell, International Business Machines Corp. delivered a second quarter profit report that may finally end the losing streak for technology stocks. IBM reported profits grew 17 percent to just under $2 billion or $1.16 a share, which was 4 cents a share better than analysts had projected.
Like so many other companies, IBM said some orders it had expected to get at the end of the quarter failed to materialize as customers cut back on their spending. But the company said it expects to boost profit margins for the rest of the year.
Signifying that growth is returning to the lodging industry, Marriott International of Bethesda, reported its quarterly earnings improved by 28 percent to $160 million (67 cents a share).
"Travelers have come back faster and in greater numbers than expected," Marriott said.