Markets & Finance

Stocks Finish Slightly Lower


U.S. stocks finished with small losses in a slow-trading session on Monday. Wall Street failed to follow through on Friday's rally, which was sparked by some positive comments from Internet-equipment maker Cisco Systems (CSCO). Worries about a sluggish U.S. economy continued to hang over the markets.

Trading was thin, partly because market players waited on the sidelines for Tuesday's report on

consumer confidence for August, and another economic report on second-quarter gross domestic product, scheduled for release on Wednesday.

Investors continue to be "very worried" about the economy and corporate profits, and there has been no news to help sustain a rally, Todger Anderson, manager of the Westcore MIDCO Growth Fund (WTMGX) told Standard & Poor's.

Among the stocks in the news Monday, Biopure Corp. (BPUR) announced that a clinical trial showed overall medical risk to patients receiving its Hemopure product are no greater than those receiving donated red blood cells.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended lower by 40.82 points, or 0.39%, to 10,425.32. The Nasdaq Composite lost 4.39 points, or 0.23%, to 1,912.41. The broader S&P 500 shed 5.72 points, or 0.48%, to 1,179.21. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar gained against the euro and yen on thin summer trading, amid some optimism the U.S. economy could be bottoming.

Treasury Market

U.S Treasuries finished slightly lower. A choppy -- but quiet --equity market provided no real direction for bonds. A steady dollar was also uninspiring. On the economic front, a new report showed sales of U.S. existing homes fell 3% in July, as the slowing economy dampened the demand for homes. The National Association of Realtors said sales of previously owned homes dropped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million units from a rate of 5.33 million in June. The July sales rate was 7.3% above July of last year but below analysts' expectations for a 5.29-million-a-year pace.

World Markets

European markets ended mixed. In France, the CAC 40 was down 10.77 points, or 0.22%, to 4,905.79. In Germany, the DAX Index gained 18.97 points, or 0.35%, to 5,406.47. In London, the markets were closed for a bank holiday. On Friday, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index added 75.40 points, or 1.40%, to 5,471.90.

In Asia, markets ended up. The Nikkei was up 108.70 points, or 0.97%, to 11,275.01, on gains in bank shares and general bargain-hunting largely from foreign investors. In Hong Kong, the market added 124.11 points, or 1.12%, to 11,234.72. By Heesun Wee in New York


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