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Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Stocks drop on concerns about fuel costs, growth

August 4, 2004

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— Another record high for oil prices and a sharp drop in consumer spending rattled investors Tuesday, sending stocks lower and halting a five-session winning steak for the Dow industrials. Technology stocks suffered the worst damage.

The market, already fretting over the impact of fuel costs on corporate profits, took another blow as U.S. crude prices jumped above $44 a barrel for the first time.

"It is built into the price of everything," said Barry Berman, head trader for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee. "As a result, it could raise the cost of products, which is inflationary, and cut into earnings," he said. "It's that basic ... that far-reaching."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 58.92, or 0.6 percent, to 10,120.24. The decline halted the Dow's longest winning streak since November, an advance of 217 points that lifted the blue-chip measure back above 10,000.

Stocks have been trading in a narrow range in recent weeks as investors worry about rising interest rates and energy prices. And while the market overcame Monday's jitters over energy prices and new threats of terrorism in the United States, sellers prevailed as the backdrop worsened on Tuesday.

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