There was little reason for investors to buy and no reports to offset Thursday's disappointing news that growth in the domestic economy continues to slow. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 58 points a day after falling 144. The Standard & Poor's 500 index also fell moderately.
"We're not seeing any significant growth prospects," said Peter Costa, president of Empire Executions. "Why be in the market if there's no [near-term] prospects for growth?" Oil prices fell again on worries that future demand will wane if economic growth remains tepid.
Overseas markets also fell, reacting to reports Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits in the United States rose last week and manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region shrank.
"We're probably on a continuation from yesterday's disturbing claims number," said Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management. "There's really nothing to hang your hat on." The Dow fell 57.59, or 0.6 percent, to 10,213.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.94, or 0.4 percent, to 1,071.69, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.81, or 0.04 percent, to 2,179.76. - AP