Indices Mixed as Uncertain Session Wears On

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Stocks dithered after an initial upswing proved short lived. With the entire financial world on

Fed

watch, major indices were saddled with modest losses, save for the tech-infatuated

Nasdaq Composite Index

.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was off 25 to 8083 after rising as high as 8146.94 in its opening move. The

S&P 500

was off a tiny fraction to 1049, and the

Russell 2000

was down 1 to 367. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq was up 3 to 1743.

The 30-year Treasury bond was recently up 1/32 to 105 17/32, yielding 5.14%.

Aside from the obvious focus on the Federal Reserve, Paul Rich, a trader at

BT Brokerage

, said market players were wary today due to the earnings warning last night from

Gillette

(G) - Get Report

and the ongoing fallout from the

Long Term Capital

fiasco.

Gillette last night set a $350 million charge to slash 4,700 jobs, or 11% of its workforce. As a result of the restructuring charge, which will amount to 30 cents a share, Gillette will report a break-even third quarter. The 13-analyst

First Call

estimate called for quarterly earnings of 40 cents per share vs. the year-ago 38 cents.

Merrill Lynch

and

Bear Stearns

separately lowered recommendations on Gillette in the wake of its announcement.

"We're just waiting on this announcement, but the underscoring of concerns about corporate earnings and talk of financial sector being hurt is another thing that's keeping the market under wraps," Rich said. "These are weird days. You really see the psychology of the market. I don't like the way the market is laying here."

The trader is somewhat perturbed by the constant chatter about what will happen if the Fed doesn't ease today, or only cuts interest rates by 25 basis points, instead of the hoped-for 50-basis-point move. All the talk "locks people into a reaction," he said.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, decliners were leading advancers 1,298 to 1,191 on trading of 170 million shares.

Nasdaq Stock Market

losers were beating winners 1,566 to 1,273 on 188 million shares.

On the NYSE, 68 issues were at new 52-week lows while 16 were at new highs. On the Nasdaq, 79 issues were at new lows while new highs totaled 10.