Another batch of economic reports spooked investors Thursday as the Dow Jones industrial average shaved off 95 points to 10,843.21 while the Nasdaq clipped 17 points to finish at 2,734.24.
At one point, the Dow was off more than 200 points.
Strong retail sales data and Friday's employment report have traders on edge, triggering inflation jitters and their accompanying rise in interest rates. If Friday's August employment report shows unexpected strength, the Federal Reserve may be tilted towards another interest rate increase.
"Today the market definitely has a black eye," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at Wachovia Securities. "It's the new numbers and the fear that the Fed will raise rates again."
In other economic indicators, factory orders rose 2.1 percent, faster than expected, in July, but productivity was less impressive than first thought in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department's report on factory orders.
One stock that seems immune to the macroeconomic events surrounding it is Intel Corp. (INTC). The chipmaker shot up another 1 7/8 to 85 5/16 Thursday. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) lost 1/16 to 19 13/16 and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) trimmed 1 1/2 to 125 3/4.
Global Crossing Ltd. (GBLX) lopped of 1 9/16 to 22 7/16 after itraised its offer to buy local and long distance telephone company Frontier Corp., this time offering about $10 billion for the nation's fifth-largest long-distance carrier. Frontier (FRO) shares closed off 1/2 to 41 3/4.
Most Internet stocks took a step back Thursday as Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) and Excite@Home Corp. (ATHM) lost 1 _ and 1 3/16 a share, respectively. America Online Inc. (AOL) inched up 1/4 to 91 1/8 and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) rose 5/8 to finish at 60 3/16.
Lycos Inc. (LCOS) closed off 7/8 to 41 1/8 and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) trimmed 1/4 to 28 7/8.
Priceline.com (PCLN) dropped 1 9/16 to 64 1/32 after it announced plans to expand its car buying service to five new states to grab part of the booming market for online automobile sales.
Go2Net (GNET) rose 3 to 63 1/4 after coverage was initiated by James Preissler of PaineWebber with a "buy" rating.
3Com Corp. (COMS) was the shining star of the network-equipment sector, gained 2 5/16 to 27 1/16 on some vague and unsubstantiated takeover rumors. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) lost 11/16 to 68 1/4 and Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) dipped 1/8 to 63 7/8.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) shed 9/16 to 91 13/16. Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) clipped 3/16 to 79 9/16 and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) closed up 3/4 to 38 7/16.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) dipped 3/16 to 47 11/16; Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) closed unchanged at 23; Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) added 1 15/16 to 70 9/16 and Gateway Inc. (GTW) moved up 7/8 to 96 3/4.