Stocks pull back in tumultuous trading

Tuesday, July 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street struggled to hold steady Tuesday, giving up early gains despite encouraging earnings reports from companies including Gillette and Texas Instruments.

Analysts said with investor confidence continually eroding due to corporate ethics scandals, there were few reasons to buy.

By late morning, the Dow Jones industrials were up 8.38, or 0.1 percent, at 7,792.96, pulling back from an early advance of more than 100 points. The Dow tumbled nearly 758 points over the previous three sessions.

Broader indicators retreated. The Nasdaq composite index fell 9.43, or 0.7 percent, at 1,273.22, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 6.16, or 0.8 percent, at 813.69.

``People are getting a little bit of good news today and that's providing some positive momentum to counteract the overall negative sentiment, but I don't see this as the beginning of a trend,'' said Brian Bruce, director of global investments at PanAgora Asset Management.

It was no surprise the market was unable to hold on to gains. Stocks that have fallen for more than nine weeks have quickly relinquished even the smallest of advances.

Financial stocks slid for a second straight session as a congressional subcommittee investing the Enron collapse prepared to hear testimony from J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup officials.

Also Tuesday, The New York Times reported Citigroup might have helped Enron conceal its financial problems. Both institutions have denied any wrongdoing in their handling of Enron business.

Citigroup fell $3.95 to $28.09, while J.P. Morgan lost $2.57 to $21.95.

Tyco was off 58 cents at $11.27 after reporting quarterly results in line with expectations, but saying it might miss the Aug. 14 deadline set by the SEC for executives to sign off on financial results. The company does plan to eventually comply.

With companies reporting generally satisfactory earnings, individual stocks have been able to post gains over the past few sessions. But unlike earnings reporting seasons of the past, the good news hasn't been able to lift the broader market.

On Monday, the Dow fell to its lowest close since October 1998, and the Nasdaq and S&P dropped to their lowest closes since May 1997.