us stockmarket hurt by mixed earnings

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    (WS) Final World Summary: US STOCKMARKET HURT BY MIXED EARNINGS
    RWE News
    9:03:020 21/01/2005
    Sydney - Friday - January 21: (RWE Australian Business News) -
    The US stockmarket has fallen again overnight after the flow of
    quarterly earnings threw up some more disappointing results.
    The market slide accelerated in the last hour of business,
    similar to yesterday's trend.
    EBay took a battering in the market following news that the
    company had dropped its 2005 income prediction.
    Analysts have pointed to a slowing of average earnings growth in
    the last three months of 2004.
    Wall Street failed to get out of negative territory with the Dow
    Jones down 69, the S&P 500 losing 9, the Nasdaq composite off 28 and the
    100 index off 31.
    Ford was another casualty in the wake of losses incurred by its
    car-making unit.
    General Motors also ran into trouble with some analysts
    downgrading their earnings outlook for the first-quarter, making it more
    difficult to achieve the 2005 year forecast of $4 to $5 a share.
    Even a good result from Citigroup failed to change sentiment.
    America's biggest financial services group reported that
    fourth-quarter earnings rose 12 per cent to a record $5.32 billion and
    dividend would be increased for the same period.
    Economic data was bad enough to lift treasuries.
    The weaker regional US manufacturing caught financial markets by
    surprise.
    Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index dropped to 13.2 in
    January from 25.4 in December.
    Analysts had been predicting a small rise on the December
    figure.
    The index was at its lowest point in 18 months and indicated a
    sharp fall in both new orders and shipments.
    Indices for prices paid and received both rose, pointing to the
    fact that inflation may not be as subdued as bond traders had believed.
    However, investors were shaken after Fed Bank of St Louis
    president William Poole said US price pressures appear well-controlled,
    although the central bank would move aggressively to keep inflation low,
    if necessary.
    Traders seemed to brush aside the lower oil price for the second
    day in a row.
    The March contract dropped 55c to $47.31 barrel on the New York
    Mercantile Exchange after hitting a low of $46.40 during the session.
    Bonds were a touch firmer, along with the US dollar.
    Aussie currency drifted down to US75.99c while the spot gold
    price eased 60c to $422.40 oz.
    On the international news scene President George W Bush was
    sworn in for his second term as a number of personalities cried foul
    around the country without any real evidence.
    The President pledged to help spread democracy to the darkest
    corners of the world as he detailed reasons justifying the invasion of
    Iraq to the American people.
    Escalating violence in Iraq has caused serious concern to the
    White House ahead of the planned elections for January 30.

    WALL STREET ... has settled 68.50 points lower at 10,471.47 on
    the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The broadly-based S&P 500 fell 9.22 to
    1175.41. The Nasdaq composite ended 27.71 behind at 2045.88 and the 100
    index fell 31.09 to 1514.56. Treasuries firmed. Ten-year cash paper rose
    2/32 ticks to 100 21/32, trimming the yield a point to 4.167 per cent.

    US DOLLAR ... has been firmer against key currencies in New
    York. It is selling at 103.31 yen, up from 102.77 yen yesterday, the
    euro is at 1.2974, (prev 1.3001) and sterling is 1.8732 (prev 1.8716).
    The greenback is at 1.1889 Swiss francs (prev 1.1865).

    AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR ... is lower against the US dollar. The Aussie
    is changing hands at US75.87c, down 23 points on last night's local
    close. High for the session was US76.22c and low was US75.99c. Crosses
    traded firmer. The yen is at 78.40 (prev 78.05), 0.5850 euros (prev
    0.5842) and 40.53 pence on sterling (prev 40.58).

    AUSTRALIAN SHAREMARKET ... may well fall for the fourth day in a
    row in line with continued selling on Wall St. The All Ordinaries closed
    down 17.2 to 4038.5 and the ASX 200 off 16.6 to 4036 yesterday. Futures
    weakened again overnight and the March SPI 200 fell 14 to 4018 and June
    6 to 4040. On the economic front, building activity and international
    trade price indices for the December quarter will be announced. In the
    sharemarket, Qantas rallied 5c to $3.56 yesterday after the airline
    reassured investors that earnings this year would exceed last year's
    $964.6 million operating profit. The stock had dropped 11c on Wednesday
    in reaction to a profit warning by rival Virgin Blue, which has fallen
    26c to $1.73 over the past two days. At the smaller end of the market,
    S8 stood out yesterday with a 19c rise to $1.81 after the property
    manager forecast a 44 per cent rise in first-half net profit to "no less
    than $5 million" and said this growth was expected to continue.

    EUROPEAN SHAREMARKETS ... closed modestly lower across all
    boards, influenced by a weaker early session in the US.
    In London, the globe's third-biggest brewer, SABMiller, saw its
    shares slide 2.59 per cent to 809.0p as investors worried over a
    Financial Times story that the company may pay too much in its attempt
    to gain control of Grupo Empresarial Bavaria, South America's No 2
    brewer, as Heineken may also enter the bidding. The insurance sector
    felt the selloff more keenly than the general market. Old Mutual dropped
    2.13 per cent to 126.25p and Royal Sun Alliance 2.03 per cent to 84.5p.
    Reuters, the global business information provider, dipped 1.77 per cent
    to 388.25 while the owner of the Financial Times, Pearson, fell 1.69 per
    cent to 609.5p after disappointing Christmas sales figures were released
    yesterday for its Penguin publishing business.
    On the Continent, technology stocks came under pressure,
    possibly as a result of EBay's weaker quarterly earnings figures in the
    US, as suggested in a Wall Street Journal report. Semiconductor
    manufacturer Infineon Technologies retreated 1.9 per cent to 7.24 euros
    on 8.5 million shares traded in Frankfurt while counterpart
    STMicroelectronics dipped 0.91 per cent to 13.03 euros in Paris and
    Dutch chip equipment maker ASML Holdings 0.7 per cent to 11.45 euros.
    France Telecom slipped 2.15 per cent to 23.20 euros and mobile phone
    maker Alcatel 0.84 per cent to 10.61 euros in Paris. Finnish counterpart
    Nokia dropped 3.17 per cent to 99.25 Swedish Kroner in Stockholm. Dutch
    electronics group Philips also lost 1.27 per cent to 18.72 euros.
    At the close, London's FTSE 100 lost 17.50 to 4800.80, Paris's
    CAC 40 dropped 26.57 to 3842.44 and Frankfurt's DAX fell 25.12 to
    4220.43. Amsterdam finished down 1, Milan 28 and Zurich 21. In the same
    general timezone, Johannesburg dropped 42.29 to 12,469.56.

    METALS ... have been mixed. Spot gold slipped 60c to $422.40 and
    the February contract 70c to $422.60 oz on COMEX. March silver shed 6.7c
    to $6.558 and the active April platinum contract fell $4.20 to $863.70
    oz on NYMEX. New York February copper rose 55 points to 141.50c lb.
    Closing three-month LMEs were copper $3036 tonne, tin $7775, lead $906,
    zinc $1268, aluminium $1835 and nickel $14,300.
    Three-month London Metals Exchange official bid prices were
    mixed. Copper fell $14.50 to $3010.50 tonne, lead rose $9.50 to $914.50
    and zinc added $3 to $1273 while tin put on $95 to $7690. Nickel slumped
    $475 to $14,300 and aluminium retreated $17 to $1828 tonne.

    OIL ... settled 55c lower at $47.31 barrel for March light crude
    on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Session high was $47.80 and low
    $46.71. The two-session retreat followed an improvement in stockpiles of
    distillate including heating oil last week, according to the Energy
    Department. March Brent crude oil futures fell 39c to $44.37 barrel on
    the International Petroleum Exchange.

    The CRB index fell 1.71 to 282.52.
 
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