U.S. stocks drop sharply on Egyptian concerns, Nasdaq down over 2 pct

11:32, January 29, 2011      

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A trader works at his station on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 28, 2011.(Xinhua/Reuters)

U.S. stocks dropped sharply Friday with the Nasdaq declining over 2 percent amid investors' concern about situations in Egypt.

The situation in the Middle East and Africa increased investors ' demand for safer havens and prompting them to sell riskier assets.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 166.13 points, or 1. 39 percent, to 11,823.70. The Standard &Poor's 500 index was down 23.18 points, or 1.78 percent, to 1,276.36 and the Nasdaq declined with 68.24 points, or 2.48 percent, to 2,687.04.

Investors were now keeping a close watch on growing street protests in Egypt. The military was deployed in an effort to restore order and the headquarters of the ruling party was on fire. Moreover, the Egyptian government's response to escalating street protests unnerved investors.

The market was also influenced by disappointing economic data. The Commerce Department said that the U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter as consumer spending accelerated. The rise was a touch below economists' expectations for a 3.5 percent rate.

As to corporate news, Ford earned its largest profit in more than a decade in 2010, as demand for its cars and trucks rose and it benefited from years of restructuring. It earned 6.6 billion dollars, or 1.66 dollars per share. That's more than double its 2009 profit of 2.7 billion dollars, or 86 cents per share.

Microsoft Corp. reported late Thursday that the profitability of its Windows division was falling.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar traded higher against major currencies in late New York trading on Friday. The Euro was lower against the U.S. Dollar to 1.3615 from 1.3729 and the British pound dropped to 1.5869 dollars from 1.5935.

Source: Xinhua
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