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4/30/2004
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Down And Downer

Stocks capped a month-long downturn Friday as investors worried that better economic news could lead to higher interest rates.

All the major stock indexes were down for the week and the month, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index suffered its biggest weekly decline in two years.

The Dow Jones industrials closed down 46.70 points, or 0.5%, to 10,225.57, and fell 2.3% for the week. The Nasdaq fell 38.63 points, nearly 2%, to close at 1,920.15. For the week, the index lost 6.3% of its value. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6.65 points, or 0.6%, to close at 1,107.24. It was down 2.9% for the week.

The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock fell 87 cents to close at $34.77, a decline of 2.3%. The stock fell 3.25% for the week. The InformationWeek 100 index fell 8.90 points, or 2.8%, to close at 305.80, and lost nearly 8.5% of its value for the week.

The losses continued a downward trend: The Dow had lost more than 200 points in its previous two sessions. Economic news on Friday was somewhat positive--the Commerce Department said personal income rose last month on top of an advance in February, and personal consumption rose for the second straight month. The University of Michigan's April consumer-sentiment index fell compared with March, but slightly beat economists' expectations.

Proctor & Gamble, a component of the Dow, said its third-quarter earnings surged by 20%, and search-engine company Google filed for an initial public offering Thursday. But that wasn't enough to offset investors' inflation fears, which have shaped markets for weeks. They're worried that the Federal Reserve may shift its stance toward fighting inflation and raise interest rates in light of positive news about the economy.

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