Wall Street fluctuates again

January 28, 2008 7:10:31 AM PST
An uneasy Wall Street fluctuated Monday after heavy selloffs in Asian and European stocks and its own sharp drop Friday. Profit gains at Verizon Communications and McDonald's Corp. failed to give the market a lift. Investors around the world are concerned there may be more massive write-downs by big banks for subprime loan losses. They also worry that the Federal Reserve may not cut interest rates as much as investors would like Wednesday to stoke a weakening U.S. economy.

The market discovered worrisome clues about the economy in ostensibly upbeat profit reports. Fast food seller McDonald's, a Dow component, said its quarterly profit rose 3 percent due to tax benefits and strong sales, but December sales were flat with a year ago as cash-strapped consumers pared back spending. And while Verizon, another Dow component, reported a 3.9 percent improvement in profit, the results met analyst expectations but did not exceed them.

Verizon shares fell $1.38, or 3.7 percent, to $36.38, while McDonald's shares fell $3.46, or 6.4 percent, to $50.64.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.43, or 0.16 percent, to 12,187.74.

Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.21, or 0.02 percent, to 1,330.82, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.64, or 0.03 percent, to 2,325.56.