Stocks fell on Tuesday, as investors weighed solid economic news, inflation worries and a gloomy outlook on semiconductor stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 59.41 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 10,745.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 9.08 points, or 0.8 percent, to finish the day at 1,197.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 16.06 points, or 0.8 percent, to settle at 2,034.98.
Investor confidence was eroded by concerns that higher oil prices, which topped $55 per barrel, would accelerate inflation and lead to rising interest rates. A barrel of light crude settled at $55.05, up 10 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
That made it hard for Wall Street to rise on good retail-sector news. While the 0.5 percent growth in February retail sales fell slightly below Wall Street expectations, the Commerce Department revised its January figure upward, and auto sales were strong in both months.
And the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index lost 2.1 percent to 421.12 as all 19 of its members fell. The gauge of chip-related stocks will not exceed 450 this year because earnings at semiconductor manufacturers will be hurt by production increases at a time when demand is not accelerating, Merrill Lynch analyst Joseph Osha wrote in a note to clients.
Among local movers, shares of Cherokee Inc. gained 3.1 percent to close at $37.34 after the Van Nuys-based licensor and global brand management company announced it signed an exclusive agreement with Roots Canada to represent the Roots brand in the U.S. Under terms of the agreement, Cherokee will create licensing opportunities for the Canadian athletic lifestyle brand.
And Jakks Pacific Inc. announced that it signed a global licensing agreement with Hasbro Properties Group, the intellectual property development arm of Hasbro Inc., to develop and market "art activity items" based on the My Little Pony brand. The agreement covers products marketed under Jakks' Flying Colors and Vivid Velvet brands, and are expected to ship to retailers nationwide in fall 2005. Shares of Jakks rose 1 percent to $22.63.
On the down side, shares of Amgen Inc. fell 3 percent to $58.61 after a U.S. appeals court sent back to a lower court a lawsuit charging that the Thousand Oaks-based biotech firm's $1.9 billion arthritis drug Enbrel infringed on a patent owned by Israel Bio-Engineering Project. The U.S. Central California District Court had ruled last year that the patent was owned by another Israeli company, Yeda Research and Development Co.
Ameron International Corp. slipped 2.7 percent to $34.33 after the Pasadena-based chemical manufacturing firm's stock was downgraded to "sell" from "hold" by Matrix USA.
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