Economic woes roil stocks

Major gauges dip as investors eye disappointing retail sales report, more problems for subprime market.

NEW YORK ( -- Stocks slipped Tuesday morning as investors eyed a weak retail sales report and the latest woes for the subprime lenders and opted to bail out of a variety of issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average (down 56.24 to 12,262.38, Charts) lost about 0.4 percent 90 minutes into the session. The broader S&P 500 (down 3.38 to 1,403.22, Charts) index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (down 6.72 to 2,395.57, Charts) composite both lost about 0.3 percent.


Stocks rallied Monday at the end of a choppy session in which worries about the subprime mortgage lenders vied with deals news.

Such worries were revived Tuesday after New Century Financial (up $0.00 to $1.66, Charts) said the Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed documents in accounting probes. In addition, the New York Stock Exchange has suspended trading of the stock and is in the process of having it delisted.

Fellow subprime Accredited Home Lenders (down $6.01 to $5.39, Charts) said it has to raise new funds to avoid having to default on its loans. Shares slumped 54 percent in active trading.

Rivals Fremont General (down $0.35 to $6.38, Charts) and Novastar Financial (down $0.59 to $3.65, Charts) both slumped too.

The subprime worries overshadowed strong earnings from Goldman Sachs (up $5.74 to $208.34, Charts). The financial leader reported earnings that rose from a year earlier and topped estimates.

Also a factor: February retail sales, which rose a smaller-than-expected 0.1 percent. Sales excluding autos fell 0.1 percent, versus forecast for a rise.

A separate report showed that January business inventories rose 0.2 percent, as expected.

In other news, Viacom (up $0.45 to $40.00, Charts) said it's suing Google (down $4.39 to $450.36, Charts) and its video sharing site YouTube for more than $1 billion regarding unauthorized use of its programming.

Texas Instruments (down $0.62 to $31.97, Charts) slipped after the chipmaker issued its mid-quarter update late Monday, narrowing its forecast range for both revenue and earnings, but keeping the midpoint unchanged.

Market breadth was negative. On the New York Stock Exchange, losers beat winners two to one on volume of 400 million shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped winners two to one on volume of 480 million shares.

U.S. light crude oil for April delivery rose 99 cents to $59.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Treasury prices rose, lowering the yield on the 10-year note to 4.53 percent from 4.55 percent late Monday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and the yen.

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