Stocks dive on Wall St


WALL Street stocks slid yesterday as US inflation jitters grew before key economic data due today. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 49.94 points to close at 5,606.96, triggering New York Stock Exchange curbs on computer-driven trading in the last half-hour.

Stock were pressured from the start as bond prices sagged on news that the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 last week, an unexpectedly large drop that provided further evidence of the economy's strength.

Declines outnumbered advances by more than a 2-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 781 up, 1,609 down and 786 unchanged.

The NYSE's composite index fell 2.73 to 349.64, and the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index fell 6.13 to 649.48.