Stocks fell today as investors found little reason to step back into a market battered by the dollar's weakness against the yen and continued fears of higher interest rates.
At 3 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 13.61 at 10,510.46. Broader stock indicators were mostly lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 5.10 at 1,305.41, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 28.47 to 2,829.69.
Investors found little reason today to snap up stocks, as the dollar continued its slide against the Japanese yen. In European trading, the dollar was quoted at 104.01 yen, down from 104.22 yen late Wednesday.
The dollar's weakness against the yen has contributed to a sharp decline in U.S. stocks this week, pushing the Dow down nearly 300 points in the past two sessions. A weaker dollar makes imports more expensive, setting the stage for inflation. It also makes foreign investments more alluring.
United Technologies held the Dow lower, falling 2 5/8 to 56, after announcing plans to eliminate 14,500 jobs worldwide over the next three years -- 10 percent of its work force -- because of a downturn in the aerospace industry.
International Paper slid 1 to 48 1 1/1 6 and Caterpillar dropped 1 7/1 6 to 54 3/4 .
The Bloomberg U.S. Internet Index rose 2.3 percent. Web stocks got a boost after Merrill Lynch & Co., the biggest U.S. brokerage, introduced a security that lets investors own a basket of 20 Internet stocks.
The most heavily weighted company in the basket is America Online Inc., the No. 1 Internet service provider, accounting for about 20 percent. At Home Corp., Yahoo! Inc. and ETrade Group Inc. together are 40 percent.
Also in the basket: Amazon.com, eBay Inc., Priceline.Com Inc., CMGI Inc., Inktomi Corp., RealNetworks Inc., Exodus Communications Inc., DoubleClick Inc., Ameritrade Holding Corp., Lycos Inc., Cnet Inc., PSINet Inc., Network Associates Inc., EarthLink, MindSpring and Go2Net Inc.
Amazon.com was given a "strong buy" rating by Mark Rowen, an analyst with Prudential Securities with a 12-month price target of $85.
"Amazon should be a key beneficiary of the hyper-growth in online shopping," Rowen said in a report to clients.
AOL rose 1 7/1 6 to 92 7/1 6 and Yahoo gained 5 1/1 6 to 184 9/1 6.
The Nasdaq's modest gains were stimulated by the merger of two Internet service providers, EarthLink and MindSpring. Earthlink rose 31 /8 to 46 5/8 and MindSpring fell 2 3/8 to 30 1/2 .
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 4-to-3 margin on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Russell 2000 index fell 0.75 to 426.78.