wall street lower on gdp data, iraq worries and me

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    (IE) Wall Street lower on GDP data, Iraq worries and Merck's woe
    RWE News
    9:01:020 29/01/2005
    Sydney - Saturday - January 29: (RWE Australian Business News) -
    US stocks are traded lower as published data indicated a slowing of the
    US economy.
    According to the Commerce Department, growth, as measured by
    Gross Domestic Product, in the economy dropped in the fourth quarter to
    3.1 per cent on an annualised basis, the poorest GDP performance over the
    last seven quarters.
    Added to general uncertainties, is the outcome of the Iraqi
    elections and the general escalation of violence ahead of the crucial
    poll tomorrow.
    The Dow's most significant decliner was Merck & Co., whose shares
    tumbled 10.14 per cent to close at $28.02 after receiving a double blow.
    Firstly, the Securities and Exchange Commission have informed
    Merck of a formal investigation into the pharmaceutical giant's recall of
    its key treatment, the painkiller Vioxx, in September last year.
    Separately, the US Court of Appeals has handed out a ruling
    invalidating a patent on Merck's leading drug Fosamax, opening the way
    for competitors to sell a similar, but generic drug from 2008 onwards.
    Wall Street closed at 10,427.20, down 40.20 on the Dow Jones
    Industrial Average index.
    The broadly-based S&P 500 ended 3.19 points lower at 1,171.36.
    The Nasdaq composite fell 11.32 to 2,035.83 and the 100 index
    eased 8.09 to 1,499.46.
    The Dow's session ranged from a low of 10,386.56 to a high of
    10,488.39.
    Of the 30 Dow member stocks, 10 rose and 30 fell.
    NYSE volume totaled 1.64 billion shares and Nasdaq volume was
    2.06 billion.
    On the week, the Dow added 34.21 points, the S&P 500 3.49, the
    Nasdaq Composite 1.56 and the 100 index fell 3.02.
    Better news surrounded the biggest takeover so far this year.
    In a $57 bn. deal, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble reported
    on Thursday that it is buying razor and battery maker Gillette Co. at an
    18 per cent premium, to form the world's largest consumer products
    business.
    P&G shares fell 2.12 per cent to $54.15 but Gillette rocketed up
    12.94 per cent to $51.60.
    Software empire Microsoft Corp. saw its shares rise 0.27 per cent
    to $26.18 after announcing a forecast-beating second-quarter result.
    Fast-food chain McDonald's Corp. shares eased 0.37 to $32.00
    despite posting a quarterly profit that more than tripled on strong US
    sales which included several new menu items.
    Outside of the Dow, memory chip company SanDisk Corp. reported
    stronger-than-expected earnings on the back of good demand for its
    products.
    SanDisk shares jumped almost 12 per cent to $24.91.
    ENDS
 
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