Stocks Fall as Confidence Recedes

  1. Just curious, does anyone follow the stock market every day? I've got my 401k money and my IRAs in mutual funds, but I don't follow the market from day-to-day. I know some people follow/watch it as a "hobby", but I'm just not interested enough in it, and it would probably drive me crazy if I tried to. I'm more concerned with how it does in the long run than how it does from day-to-day.

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    NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Friday as investors fretted over a dip in a key consumer confidence measure, overshadowing strong earnings from technology bellwether Dell Inc. (NasdaqELL - news).

    Walt Disney Co. (NYSEIS - news) led the Dow lower, pulling back from strong gains prompted by Comcast Corp.'s (Nasdaq:CMCSA - news) unsolicited $48 billion takeover offer.

    Stocks have dipped for two straight sessions after a rally on Wednesday, fueled by Federal Reserve (news - web sites) Chairman Alan Greenspan (news - web sites) who said the economy was growing vigorously but suggested no interest-rate hike was imminent. His comments helped drive blue-chip stocks to 32-month highs.

    Investors are now doubting some of Greenspan's upbeat review of the economy, said John Davidson, president of Partner Re Asset Management Corp.

    "If consumer confidence is falling and the weekly jobs claims actually rose, most of the actual news this week was not that good on the economy despite the fact that Greenspan said it was pretty good," he said.

    Stocks began their slide early in Friday's session after the University of Michigan released a survey showing U.S. consumer sentiment fell sharply through mid-February. Stocks remained in negative territory throughout the day.

    The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI - news) ended down 66.22 points, or 0.62 percent, at 10,627.85. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index (^SPX - news) closed down 6.30 points, or 0.55 percent, at 1,145.81. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (^IXIC - news) finished down 20.05 points, or 0.97 percent, at 2,053.56.

    The dip sealed the fourth straight week of declines for the Nasdaq. The Dow and S&P 500 have gained in each of the past two weeks.

    Next week is a shortened week for trading, as U.S. stock markets are closed on Monday to mark Presidents Day.

    Friday's pullback started after the University of Michigan said its preliminary reading of consumer sentiment tumbled to 93.1 in February from January's final reading of 103.8, its highest level in more than three years. Economists had forecast a reading of 103.3.

    That overshadowed higher quarterly earnings from Dell, which said on Thursday it sees its profit in the current quarter in line with Wall Street expectations and expects steady growth in technology spending this year. Dell shares rose 98 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $34.55.

    Shares of Disney were the Dow's biggest loser, falling $1.08, or about 3.9 percent, to $26.92. Comcast fell 16 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $29.90.

    The most heavily traded issue on the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites) was AT&T Wireless (NYSE:AWE - news), as Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) (NYSE:VOD - news), the world's top wireless operator, and U.S rival Cingular ready for a head-to-head battle to take control of AT&T Wireless.

    AT&T Wireless shares rose 15 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $11.82. Vodafone's ADRs, or American Depositary Receipts, rose 85 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $25.76.

    Trading was average, with 1.3 billion shares changing hands on the NYSE, below the 1.4 billion daily average for last year. About 1.8 billion shares were traded on Nasdaq, in line with the daily average last year.

    Decliners outnumbered advancers by about 5 to 3 on the NYSE and about 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   ernurse2244
    I usually note sometime during the day what the Nasdaq and Dow Jones are doing just to keep a finger on the pulse there. All my retirement funds are in mutual funds and bonds and I don't know what company stock or bonds I own.
  4. by   Tilleycs
    I try to not pay attention to it, although I hear the headlines sometimes. If it goes down, I really don't worry since I'm in it for the long run and won't need my money for a long time (hopefully). I've had mutual funds that did well and some that didn't go well (one, in fact, did so poorly that they liquidated the fund and I had to transfer all my shares into another fund! Oy vey!).
  5. by   Nurse Ratched
    Hubby, who is in charge of retirement planning, watches the totals daily but does not jump to alter our mix of investments daily. I hear the leading stories on the news and always wonder how some seemingly unrelated event always seems to be drawn back to its effect on the stock market.
  6. by   Tilleycs
    I hear the leading stories on the news and always wonder how some seemingly unrelated event always seems to be drawn back to its effect on the stock market.
    LOL! I hear ya! "There was a 3-car pile-up today on highway 41; car manufacturers wonder how low this will send their stocks as a result. In other news, Victoria's Secret shares have been slowly recovering from the Janet Jackson debacle, despite their protests that their bras WILL stay in place if someone pulls on an outfit from the side during a music performance..." Stockholders can be a weird, emotional, fickle bunch.

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