Stock prices sagged today, weighed down by worries about the prospective length and severity of the economic slump.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks slipped 3.97 points to 2,621.53 by noon.
Losers outnumbered gainers by about 7 to 5 in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed issues, with 535 up, 748 down and 591 unchanged.
The government reported this morning that its chief gauge of future economic activity dropped for the fifth consecutive month in November.
The 1.2 percent decline in the Commerce Department's index of leading economic indicators followed a 1.3 percent drop in October.
Confronted with such data, many economists lately have been cutting their forecasts for growth and profits, at least through the early stages of 1990.
Losers among the blue chips included American Express, down 3/8 at 20; American Telephone & Telegraph, down 1/8 at 30; Boeing, down 1/4 at 45 5/8 , and Philip Morris, down 3/8 at 50 3/4 .
Volume on the Big Board came to 51.19 million shares at noon.
On Thursday the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 11.63 points to 2,625.50.
Big Board volume totaled 102.90 million shares, against 78.73 million in Wednesday's session.