Stocks slip following strategists' downgrading


Stocks lost ground yesterday after top market strategists cut their 2001 earnings estimates for a broad market barometer, reigniting worries about slumping corporate profits. A dearth of economic data or key corporate earnings reports kept investors on the sidelines, making the trading session among the lightest of the year.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 14.95 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 10,401.72. The broad Standard & Poor's 500 Index was little changed, dipping 1.30 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 1,204.52. The tech-laced Nasdaq Composite Index fell 11.25 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 2,017.82.

About 1.33 billion shares traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, making it the fourth-lightest session of the year.

Dragging on the Dow, conglomerate General Electric lost $1.05 to $43.60 on its plans to buy Heller Financial for about $5.3 billion. Heller soared $17.09 to $52.99 and was the Big Board's second-most active issue while GE was the most active.