wall st falls below 8000

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    Wall St falls below 8000By Amy Baldwin in New York
    28 Jan 03

    WAR fears have battered Wall Street, pushing the Dow Jones below the 8000 level for the first time in three months.

    At midday, the Dow was down 154.82 points, or 1.9 per cent, at 7976.19, in the wake a report by arms inspectors in Iraq to the UN.
    Meanwhile, in London share prices fell for an 11th consecutive session, propelled by fears of a US-led war against Iraq.

    The FTSE 100 closed down 122.9 points, or 3.4 per cent, at a seven-year low of 3480.8.

    The last time the index closed lower was on October 11, 1995, when it finished at 3474.3.

    Investors unloaded shares around the globe as the UN weapons inspectors reported that Iraq had failed to fully co-operate with their searches for weapons of mass destruction.

    The Dow last traded below 8000 on October 15 and last closed below that level on October 14, when it stood at 7877.40.

    The broader US market was also lower in early afternoon trade.

    The Nasdaq composite index fell 18.50, or 1.4 per cent, to 1323.64, having lost 2.5 per cent last week.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 index was off 15.60, or 1.8 per cent, to 845.80, following last week's decline of 4.5 per cent which took it to levels last seen in October.

    Investors are worried that war with Iraq would come as a particularly hard blow to an already feeble economy.

    One concern is that higher oil prices would result and eat away at corporate profits. Another worry is that consumers would curtail their spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the US economy.

    "The public at large is shunning equities. This is traditionally the time when money comes into equities, into retirement accounts. So, this is disturbing," said Stephen Massocca, president of Pacific Growth Equities.

    "People are concerned about Iraq, but I think there is a deeper concern about the state of the economy, the state of the markets. There is a kind of bear market malaise."

    Japan's Nikkei stock average finished down 1.4 per cent.

    In Europe, France's CAC-40 slid 3.6 per cent and Germany's DAX index lost 3 per cent.

    This report appears on news.com.au.

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