Stocks slide in early trade

Wall Street retreats on weak retail sales report and worries about Lehman Brothers future. The approach of Hurricane Ike weighs on oil.

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By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Stocks slumped at the open Friday as investors mulled a surprise drop in retail sales and Lehman Brothers' race to sell all or part of itself within the next few days.

Investors also considered a rise in oil prices as as Hurricane Ike churned towards Texas.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), the Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index the Nasdaq composite (COMP) all slipped in the early going.

On Thursday, the Dow climbed nearly 1.5% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.3% amid talk that Lehman was shopping for potential suitors.

Lehman: Lehman Brothers (LEH, Fortune 500) was the talk of Wall Street amid reports that the venerable brokerage is being shopped around.

The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reported that the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve have been working with Lehman to help solve its problems, including helping to find potential buyers.

But both papers said the government does not want to structure a bailout for Lehman similar to the ones put together for Bear Stearns in March and mortgage financers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier this week.

Lehman shares, which fell more than 40% Thursday, were 14% lower in early trading Friday.

Ike: Hurricane Ike continued to churn through the Gulf of Mexico, where it's projected to smash into the Texas coast by early Saturday.

Oil prices rose 75 cents a barrel to $101.62 over concerns that the storm could threaten the offshore oil and natural gas infrastructure.

Economy: Wholesale prices fell more than expected in August due to the decline in energy prices. Producer prices fell 0.9%, more of a loss than the 0.5% decline expected by economists.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, prices rose 0.2%, in line with forecasts.

Retail sales fell 0.3% in August, surprising economists who expected a 0.3% increase.

Markets: European and Asian markets were up. The dollar slipped versus the euro and the British pound, but rose against the yen.  To top of page

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