Profit slip spooks market
“Companies everywhere are in need of new computers and networking gear, and a majority of the demand is overseas.”
If corporate profits are the No. 1 measure of Wall Street's health, the patient seems to be displaying some less-than-robust vital signs. And if the patient gets any weaker, the stock market may be in need of a pulse-o-meter. That was apparent Friday, after the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted by nearly 367 points on the 20th anniversary of the Black Monday 500-point Dow plunge, following an earnings warning by Caterpillar Inc., which blamed weakness in the home construction industry for a reduced profit outlook. Its stock was hammered, even though its third-quarter profits rose 21 percent. Analysts said investors are in no mood for any signs of trouble, what with oil briefly topping $90 a barrel this week and the housing industry beset by unsold real estate and hundreds of thousands of foreclosures. Read more
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