Stocks End Lower After Daylong Slump

More accounting issues surface, and economic data are lukewarm.
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Updated from 4:00 p.m. EST

Stocks ended lower after a session-long funk Friday as accounting fears and lukewarm economic data rattled investors.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average ended with a loss of 98.95 points, or 1%, to 9903.04. The

Nasdaq was down 38.18 points, or 2.1%, to 1805.19, and the

S&P 500 was off 12.30 points, or 1.1%, at 1104.18.

Several economic reports were out, painting a mixed picture. The Labor Department said its

producer price index rose 0.1% in January, shy of the consensus estimate of a 0.2% gain. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, fell 0.1%. Separately, the

Federal Reserve

said industrial production fell 0.1% in January, while capacity utilization for the month slipped to 74.2% from 74.4% in December. According to a

Reuters

poll, the numbers met expectations.

Elsewhere, the University of Michigan's February

consumer sentiment index fell to 90.9 from 93 in January. Analysts were looking for the number to rise from the prior month. The present situation component of the index rose, but the expectations portion dropped.

Accounting issues have plagued Wall Street for weeks, and now a story in

The New York Times

is pointing fingers at one of the biggest and most widely followed companies in the world --

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

. According to the article, Big Blue didn't disclose in its fourth-quarter earnings that an asset sale had generated $300 million the company used to lower its operating costs.

A spokeswoman said IBM considered the sale part of its ordinary course of business and that the use of proceeds to reduce selling, general and administrative expenses was appropriate. Shares of IBM lost $5, or 4.6%, to $102.89.

Nvidia

(NVDA) - Get Report

, a maker of PC video cards, fell 7.7% to $57.35 after the company said it was

conducting an internal review after receiving a

Securities and Exchange Commission

inquiry. The SEC's questions related to how the company timed the recognition of reserves and whether it improperly shifted $3.6 million of costs among quarters in fiscal 2001.

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

lost $1.21, or 4.5%, to $25.60 a day after the PC maker posted

fourth-quarter earnings of $456 million, or 17 cents a share. Sales for the quarter came in stronger than expected.

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

was providing some hope to the expanding list of companies being dragged into court for asbestos litigation after receiving a favorable ruling from a U.S. bankruptcy court Thursday. The court issued a temporary restraining order halting more than 200,000 pending asbestos claims against a former Halliburton subsidiary. The company's shares finished up $1.61, or 11%, to $16.27.

Qwest

(Q)

was again the most active stock on the

Big Board, finishing higher by 7 cents, or 0.9%, to $7.56.

Tyco

(TYC)

, which was up $1.15, or 4.3%, at $27.90, was also active.

Symbol Technologies

(SBL)

took a beating, dropping $3.39, or 29%, to $8.40. After the close Thursday, Symbol posted earnings that met analysts' expectations, but the maker of mobile data terminals said Chief Executive Tomo Razmilovic stepped down from his post. Jerome Swartz, the company's founder, chairman and former CEO, was named as his replacement.

AES

(AES) - Get Report

faced increased selling pressure this afternoon after Fitch downgraded the energy firm's debt rating in light of the company's liquidity crunch and exposure to the Venezuelan currency. The stock traded down $2.50, or 26.3%, to $7.

U.S. Treasury issues were higher. Around 4 p.m. EST, the 10-year note was up 18/32 to 100 1/32, yielding 4.87%.

Overseas, stocks were mostly lower with London's FTSE 100 losing 0.5% to 5183 and Germany's Xetra DAX down 2.2% at 4863. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% to 10,048, and the Hang Seng added 1.2% to close at 10,962.