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Saturday 21st of November 2009
March 23, 2006    

New York markets head lower

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by Elaine Frei

Wall Street was down at mid-session on Thursday as profit-taking and renewed worries about higher interest rates took their toll after new data showed that existing home sales in the US were up 5.2 percent in February. Higher crude oil prices also hurt buyer sentiment.

By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 0.4 percent to 11,272.93, the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.3 percent to 2,296.35, and the S&P 500 was also 0.3 percent lower to 1,301.03.

Oil companies were higher on higher crude prices as well as on upgrades within the sector from Prudential Equity Group. Marathon Oil gained 1.6 percent to $77.49 and ConocoPhillips added 1.9 percent to $61.65.

Computer related sectors were mixed. Software maker Adobe Systems lost 2.6 percent to $35.66 after it said that earnings this quarter will be below predictions. Computer maker Dell added 0.2 percent to $30.46 on the news that it will purchase Alienware, which makes gaming computers. That news helped chip maker Advanced Micro Devices to gain 3.6 percent to $35.62. Search engine Yahoo was up 3.1 percent to $42 on positive comments from UBS.

General Motors added 0.8 percent to $22.19 after the majority stake in its financing arm was purchased by an investor group.

In the foods sector, General Mills gained 0.5 percent to $50.21 on a 7 percent rise in profits in the third quarter. ConAgra added 1.1 percent to $20.48 even though it announced losses in its third quarter due to one-time restructuring and legal costs.

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