NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell yesterday for the sixth time in eight days, amid concern that earnings growth isn't keeping up with stock prices.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.82 to 8,914.96, led by Wal-Mart, down $2.5625 to $60.875.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 5.02 to 1,125.22, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 15.04 to 1,881.49.
Among other broad indexes, the Russell 2,000 index of small capitalization stocks slid 1.35 to 426.19; the Wilshire 5,000 index fell 45.66 to 10,469.44; and the S&P; 400 midcap index slipped 1.21 to 346.07. The American Stock Exchange composite index gained 1.17 to 707.86.
The Sun-Bloomberg Maryland index, which tracks the top 100 Maryland stocks by market valuation, fell 2.28 to 218.71, its lowest point this year.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancers by a 17-to-13 margin on the New York Stock Exchange.
Losses would have been greater if not for a gain in International Business Machines Corp., up $2.4375 to $127.875 on optimism that a new line of mainframe machines will boost sales. Merrill Lynch & Co. added IBM to its "Focus1" list, and analyst Steve Milunovich increased his 1999 earnings forecast for the the world's largest computer company. IBM added 10 points to the Dow average.
Profits for the 407 S&P; 500 companies that have reported earnings so far for the last quarter are up just 3 percent, on average, down from 11 percent a year earlier, according to First Call Corp.
Wal-Mart is expected to report a 25 percent increase in quarterly earnings Aug. 12, based on the average forecast from analysts surveyed by IBES International Inc. The shares have been up as much as 75 percent this year.
General Motors Corp. declined 12.5 cents to $74.125 yesterday, after workers voted to settle two strikes.
Drug stocks fell for the fifth time in seven days after rallying all year. Pfizer Inc. lost $2.50 to $109.125; Merck & Co. dropped $1 to $123.3125; and Schering-Plough Corp. fell $2.50 to $109.125.
Delta Air Lines Inc. fell $4.75 to $125.25 and is down 12 percent in two weeks.
Companies that make billing and customer-service software declined after Galway, Ireland-based Saville Systems PLC warned that sales and profit in the second half of the year will be unchanged from the second quarter because of consolidation among its phone-company customers.
Saville's American depositary receipts plunged $9.6875 to $25.4375. HBO & Co., the largest maker of software for health-care companies, lost $2.125 to $28.50, and Ceridian Corp. fell 93.75 cents to $57.8125. Saville said it lost 22 cents a diluted share in the second quarter.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. jumped $3.5625 to $33.3125 after the company said it made a significant crude oil and natural gas discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. The company also said it earned 2 cents a share in the second quarter, down from 11 cents in last year's quarter.
Pub Date: 7/30/98