Published: Friday, January 17, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 10:19 p.m.
Cautious trading sends stock prices down
The declines, which erased an early advance, signaled that investors were pacing themselves and waiting for more earnings results before making any major commitments to stocks. Analysts said investors were also mindful of the possibility of war with Iraq.
After gaining as much as 82.34 earlier in the session, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 25.31, or 0.3 percent, at 8,697.87. On Wednesday, the Dow dropped 119.44 on a mixed earnings report from Intel and a reduced outlook from DuPont.
The market's broader gauges also retreated. The Nasdaq composite index fell 15.05, or 1.1 percent, to 1,423.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 3.62, or 0.4 percent, to 914.60.
GM's earnings surge
GM said Thursday it earned $1 billion, or $1.71 a share, for the October-December period compared with $255 million, or 60 cents a share, in the prior-year period.
Revenue climbed to $48.7 billion, its highest total ever for the period, from $46 billion a year ago.
Sales at year's end were driven by heavy incentives as GM sought to meet market-share goals. The automaker posted its second straight U.S. market-share gain in 2002 for the first time since 1976.
Excluding special items at its Hughes Electronics Corp., which owns the DirecTV satellite television service, GM earned $850 million, or $1.62 cents a share, in the fourth quarter.
Consumer costs steady
The generally tame inflation climate in 2002 offered some shoppers - especially those buying cars, clothes, computers and airline tickets - some good deals because prices fell for those items.
But people paying energy, medical and education expenses, including tuition and books, took a hit in the wallet as those prices rose sharply. Energy prices, which can fluctuate wildly from year to year, rose by 10.7 percent in 2002, a turnaround from the 13 percent drop registered in 2001.
Delta reports losses
The loss was equivalent to $2.98 per share, an improvement from last year's fourth quarter loss of $734 million, or $5.98 per share, and it was better than the expectations of analysts.
Revenue grew to $3.31 billion, compared with $2.86 billion during the same period a year ago.
Excluding unusual items, the Atlanta-based carrier said it lost $230 million, or $1.90 a share. On that basis, Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call predicted a loss of $2.27 per share.
For the year, Delta, the nation's third largest airline, lost nearly $1.3 billion.
"Over a long period of time, businesses don't exist that lose these kinds of dollars," said Delta's chief financial officer, Michele Burns. But, she added, "I think we have the ability, flexibility and will to survive this crisis."
- Compiled from The Associated Press
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