Stocks’ Ad­vance Af­ter Rate Cut Is Short-Lived

The Washington Post - - Markets Report -

NEW YORK, Jan. 30 — Wall Street closed lower Wed­nes­day, sac­ri­fic­ing the ad­vance it made af­ter the Fed­eral Re­serve cut in­ter­est rates half a per­cent­age point. In­vestors col­lected prof­its af­ter three ses­sions of gains, un­will­ing to leave money on the ta­ble dur­ing on­go­ing eco­nomic un­cer­tainty.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age, which had been up more than 200 points af­ter the Fed an­nounced its de­ci­sion, fin­ished down 37.47, or 0.30 per­cent, at 12,442.83. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500-stock in­dex fell 6.49, or 0.48 per­cent, to 1355.81, and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite in­dex fell 9.06, or 0.38 per­cent, to 2349.00.

The rate cuts came on the same day as fresh data that showed the econ­omy slowed sig­nif­i­cantly in the fi­nal three months of 2007. Gross do­mes­tic prod­uct ex­panded at a slight 0.6 per­cent pace in the fourth quar­ter, less than half of what had been ex­pected. For all of 2007, gross do­mes­tic prod­uct grew 2.2 per­cent, the weak­est rate since 2002.

On Thurs­day, the Com­merce De­part­ment re­leases its De­cem­ber per­sonal spend­ing re­port, which in­cludes data on per­sonal con- sump­tion ex­pen­di­tures.

Key re­ports on the job mar­ket and man­u­fac­tur­ing set to ar­rive Fri­day could add to in­vestors’ con­cerns about the state of the econ­omy, which has been dragged down by a crum­bling hous­ing mar­ket and losses at ma­jor fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

Movers

Merck fell $1.32, to $46.69, as charges re­lated to set­tling law­suits over the drug­maker’s painkiller Vioxx pushed the com­pany to a fourthquar­ter loss.

Boe­ing rose $1.91, to $82.87, af­ter the air­plane maker boosted its 2008 profit out­look.

Robert Half In­ter­na­tional gained $3.13, to $27.98, af­ter the staffing firm posted a 5 per­cent higher quar­terly profit, helped by re­sults abroad.

UBS gave up 79 cents, to $42.26, af­ter Switzer­land’s largest bank said it would record the first an­nual loss in its 10-year his­tory, hurt by the fi­nan­cial cli­mate in the United States.

Ya­hoo fell $1.76, to $19.05, af­ter the com­pany said that its quar­terly profit dropped 24 per­cent and that it planned to lay off 7 per­cent of its work­force.

United Par­cel Ser­vice rose $1.10, $72.02, af­ter post­ing a fourth-quar­ter loss.

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