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Earnings news drags markets lower

Earnings news manages to scare investors once again, driving the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 150 points and pushing the Nasdaq lower.

Earnings news managed to scare investors once again, driving the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 150 points and pushing the Nasdaq lower.

The Dow dived 176.83, or nearly 2 percent, to close at 10,631.32 led by Eastman Kodak.

The Nasdaq fell 52.11 to 3,689.11, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 11.82 to 1,427.21.

Kodak, the world's largest photography company, said it will likely miss earnings projections for the current quarter due to weaker sales. In a statement released today, CFO Bob Brust said third-quarter earnings are likely to be 20 cents to 25 cents per share lower than expected. Shares of Eastman Kodak fell $14.63, or nearly 25 percent, to $44.38.

Adding to investor concerns, PC printer maker Lexmark International said it expects third-quarter profit of 45 cents to 50 cents a share. The company was expected to earn 60 cents, the average estimate of seven analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial. Shares of Lexmark fell $14.50, or about 28 percent, to $37.50.

"Right now, Greenspan is getting his way with corporate earnings coming down," Jeff Logsdon, director of research at WR Hambrecht, said in referring to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Logsdon also noted that slower earnings from companies as diverse as Kodak and Lexmark, as well as Goodyear and McDonald's, show that the economic slowdown is widespread.

According to First Call, 65 percent of the companies that have issued pre-announcements for the third quarter have said they will miss analysts' estimates, compared with 55 percent during the same time last quarter.

First Call also said that analysts expect the companies that comprise the S&P 500 to report 16.5 percent profit growth for the third quarter, down from their 17.1 percent estimate of last week.

Microsoft shares rose $1.44 to $62.69 after the U.S. Supreme Court sent the company's antitrust case back to a lower court for review. The decision is viewed as a blow to the government, which had sought to avoid the lower court. The appeals court on two other occasions has overturned Microsoft rulings.

At the end of regular trading, Intel shares dropped $2.06 to $43.31; Cisco Systems dipped $2 to $55.19; and ADC Telecommunications fell $2.56 to $29. Oracle rose 69 cents to $79.44.

The CNET tech index lost 41.91 to close at 2,874.41. Losers beat out winners, with 63 of the 97 stocks in the index falling, 33 rising and one remaining unchanged.

Of the 18 sectors tracked by CNET Investor, peripheral-equipment companies posted the sharpest drops, falling about 6 percent. PC software makers were the day's largest gainers, climbing 1 percent.

The initial public offering of CoSine, a maker of networking equipment, was the biggest percentage gainer on the Nasdaq. The shares jumped $40.06, or 174 percent, to $63.06.

Shares of Palm rose $3.25 to $55.50 after the maker of handheld computers posted earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

Micron Electronics posted strong earnings today, coming in almost three times above projections. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000, ended Aug. 31, Micron earned 24 cents per share, compared with the 9 cents that analysts had expected, according to a poll by First Call/Thomson Financial. The news did not help the stock, as Micron fell $1.50 to $10.88.

Internet consulting firms had a rough day on Wall Street. Viant, Xpedior and Razorfish all hit new 52-week lows today. Viant fell 16 cents to $5.59; Xpedior lost 13 cents to $4; and Razorfish stumbled 77 cents to $9.92.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index fell 9.69 to 870.67 led by chipmaker Texas Instruments, which lost $3.38 to close at $48.63.