Written by Frank Cotolo
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Topics: Economy, New York

Tuesday, 6 July 2004

image for Economy boost could be an illusion

NEW YORK CITY -- U.S. stocks have gone lower as higher oil prices make oil more expensive and a spate of profit warnings made investors dribble from the sides of their mouths.

Shares of Veritas Software fell after the company announced weaker-than-expected second-quarter results due to sluggish sales.

Sluggish sales were based on lack of consumer activity with the product, which is on sale to the public. Still, three out of four people on the floor did not know Veritas Software existed and claimed its lack of business has little to do with low prices of other companies.

In addition, chipmakers were under pressure after Nabisco claimed there were too many generic brands of chips. "Name brands like Wise just don't sell these days like they used to," said one investor.

U.S. light crude was up to $39.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the Black Market, it remained at $11.78 a barrel.

Crude oil is a component of almost every sector of the economy, except outdoor sports like fishing. It does, though affect manufacturing and transport, and higher oil prices usually erode corporate profits, as well as any land the stuff is spilled upon.

Stocks were also hurt after the Institute for Supply Management's monthly non-manufacturing index was explained to investors. Once people knew what it was, they ignored it and it fell short of expectations.

"Concerns are starting to mount that the economy does not have the steam as everyone had hoped," Paul Cherney, chief market analyst at Standard & Poor's, said. "But perhaps it can run on condensation and still be all right."

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