Dow falls 70 points on worries about Asia Skid extends to third day as index drops to 7,978; J. P. Morgan leads decline

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell again yesterday on concern that Asian economic turmoil will take a bite out of U.S. corporate profits.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell for a third day, dropping 70.87 to 7,978.79. J. P Morgan & Co. led the decline, falling $5 to $117.875 after it said fourth-quarter earnings would be hurt by the turmoil in global financial markets.


"It's pretty obvious that more and more companies will cite Asian influences in their fourth-quarter earnings and into 1998," said Charles Crane, chief investment strategist at Key Asset Management Inc., which oversees $50 billion.

Technology stocks slumped for a second day after Oracle Corp.'s weaker-than-expected earnings report. The Nasdaq composite index, jammed with computer companies, fell 23.94, or 1.5 percent, to 1,596.61, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 5.99 to 969.79, led by International Business Machines Corp.


Among other broad market indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks slid 5.35 to 432.81; the Wilshire 5,000 index, comprising stocks on the New York, American and Nasdaq stock exchanges, dropped 69.76 to 9,272.22; the American Stock Exchange composite index slipped 2.10 to 669.45; and the S&P; 400 midcap index lost 3.55 to 328.02.

J. P. Morgan, as it announced a dividend boost and share buyback, said earnings for the first two months of the quarter were hurt by "unsettled market conditions." Other banks with large overseas businesses also declined. Citicorp fell $5.875 to $132, and Chase Manhattan Corp. lost $2.6875 to $113.1875.

Declining issues swamped advancers on the New York Stock Exchange by a 2-to-1 margin. More than 605 million shares changed hands, about 6 percent above the recent daily average.

Concern that growth is slowing in Asia send shares of Compaq Computer Corp. down $3.375 to $60; Intel Corp. lost 93.75 cents to $74.6875; Microsoft Corp. fell $2.0625 to $142.25; and Dell Computer Corp. dropped $2.8125 to $91.125.

Oracle was unchanged after falling 29 percent Tuesday. It was, again, the most actively traded stock, but yesterday's 66.3 million shares fell short of Tuesday's record 172.4 million.

Corning Inc. dropped $2.375 to $39.9375 after AEA Investors Inc. scrapped its offer to pay $825 million for Corning's consumer housewares unit, which makes Pyrex, Corning Ware and Revere Ware dishes. AEA cited concern about the effect of economic turmoil in Asia on the unit's sales next year.

Hambrecht & Quist Group fell $3.8125 to $38.75 after someone close to the firm's chief executive said Merrill Lynch Co. ended talks to buy it.

Vivus Inc., which makes the impotence drug Muse, lost a third of its value, dropping $6.3125 to $13.8125 after it said product revenue could drop 25 percent in the fourth quarter from the third quarter.


Fastenal Inc. plunged $9.25 to $41 after the distributor of nuts and bolts warned that fourth-quarter earnings will come in below expectations because of a revenue shortfall and rising labor costs.

Tenneco Inc. fell $2.875 to $41.4375 after the manufacturer said its fourth-quarter earnings will fall short of analysts' expectations because of weak demand for its car products.

Oxford Health Plans Inc. dropped $2.9375 to $17.125 after it said it will have a fourth-quarter loss of $120 million and a loss for the year as state regulators ordered it to boost its reserves for paying doctors' bills by $164 million.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. slumped $2.875 to $16.75 after the company cut the quarterly dividend on it Class A and Class B shares by 78 percent to 5 cents a share from 22.5 cents a share. The dividend cut reflects the impact of significantly lower copper and gold prices, the company said.

Pub Date: 12/11/97