Originally created 10/11/05

Anxiety over earnings builds amid declines

NEW YORK - Stocks fell Monday as Delphi Corp.'s bankruptcy filing and lowered outlooks at Northrop Grumman Corp. and Xilinx Inc. set a gloomy tone on Wall Street before the upcoming third-quarter earnings season.

The market extended last week's losses as investors grew anxious for earnings reports to gauge the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and to get a glimpse of where the economy is headed as companies predict future results.

However, "this is the time when you get profit warnings instead of earnings surprises," said John Forelli, a portfolio manager at Independence Investments LLC. "Once the reports start flying in next week, you typically get a lot of positive reinforcement from earnings."

The market received some good news after the close, when aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. posted a profit that beat analysts' forecasts despite pressure from soaring energy costs and lower aluminum prices.

Wall Street had some early support from a $7.5 billion acquisition in the insurance sector and an upgrade at International Business Machines Corp., but the major indexes slipped into negative territory after each losing more than 2 percent last week.

Volume was light as many traders took the Columbus Day holiday off. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 53.55, or 0.52 percent, to 10,238.76, its lowest close since mid-May.

Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 8.57, or 0.72 percent, to 1,187.33, while the Nasdaq composite index sank 11.43, or 0.55 percent, to 2,078.92.

The U.S. government bond market was closed Monday for Columbus Day. The dollar was mixed against other currencies, and gold edged higher.


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