Exxon, IBM and GE lead 186-point drop in Dow U.S. stocks respond to steep decline in Hong Kong market


NEW YORK -- The biggest U.S. companies -- General Electric Co., International Business Machines Corp. and Exxon Corp. -- led yesterday's stock decline in the wake of the market plunge in Hong Kong.

The Dow industrials dropped 186.88, or 2.33 percent, to 7,847.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 17.80, or 1.8 percent, to 950.69, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 36.83, or 2.2 percent, to 1,671.25.

Among other broad market indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks dropped 8.89 to 449.36; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock exchanges, plunged 178.31 to 9,208.60; the American Stock Exchange composite index lost 10.35 to 703.39; and the S&P; 400 mid-cap index dipped 6.66 to 331.37.

First Data Corp. was the day's most active stock, dropping $6 to $30.125 in trading of 27.1 million shares. The company, the biggest processor of financial transactions for credit card issuers and other customers, said profit growth is slowing.

After First Data, yesterday's most active stocks in U.S. trading were Intel Corp., Applied Materials Inc., Boeing Co. and Amgen Inc. Few areas of the market were spared. Some 2,419 stocks declined and 586 gained on the New York Stock Exchange, making it the broadest retreat since Aug. 8. Only 35 out of the S&P; 500 index's stocks rose.

GE fell $2.0625 to $67.375; IBM dropped $4.75 to $100.375; and Exxon declined $1.75 to $63.125.

Marsh & McLennan Cos. fell 81.25 cents to $74.6875 even after the insurance and investment management company said it earned 83 cents a share in the third quarter.

Corrections Corp. of America fell $9.5625 to $32 after reporting unexpectedly low third-quarter earnings and warning that the next quarter would disappoint, too.

Xerox Corp. lost $1.3125 to $86 after reporting a profit of 92 cents a share in the third quarter, a penny short of the mean estimate of nine analysts surveyed by IBES International Inc. Xerox disputed the validity of the IBES number and said the mean estimate is 91 cents.

U.S. bonds rallied, providing investors hope that yesterday's drop won't snowball. The yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond, which moves in the opposite direction as price, fell to 6.31 percent from 6.42 percent as investors sought to own debt of the world's best creditor.

Amgen surged $2.125 to $48.0625 in trading of 14.2 million shares. The world's largest biotechnology company plans to buy back as much as $1 billion of its stock.

Baxter International Inc. slumped $3.375 to $52.50. The medical-devices maker said the European Union's drug regulatory agency requested more clinical data about the company's Hem-Assist, an intravenous solution to replace blood infusion during heart bypass operations.

Cardiac Science Inc. rallied $1 to $3.25. The company's combination heart monitor and defibrillator received Food and Drug Administration clearance for use in hospitals.

Pub Date: 10/24/97

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