Markets Retreat Slightly in Mid-Week Trading

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

( - After two days of reaching high levels for the year, Wall Street investors engaged in light profit taking on Wednesday.

All three major markets were down at the end of the mid-week session. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 8.52 points to 9,804.46, the Nasdaq Composite index lost 4.09 points to end the day at 1,939.10, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index retreated 2.71 points to 1,046.77.

Part of the fallback was due to a drop in retail sales in September, the first time that has happened since April, the Commerce Department reported. However, figures for previous months were revised upward.

"It's a pretty good sell-off," Peter Green, a market analyst at MKM Partners, told Fox News. "The market has acted well, but people are exhausted" after several straight days of market gains, he added.

Despite Wednesday's slip into negative territory, October has been strong for all of the major markets, which have gained more than 5 percent since the start of the month. And some analysts remained confident that Wall Street would see continued overall increases during the next several months.

"There may be a little pullback over the next few days, but many companies have come in with strong earnings, and that is going to keep supporting stocks," Robert Long, vice president of investments at Melhado, Flynn & Associates, told CNN.

Also, the New York Empire State index, a regional manufacturing survey, showed a stronger-than-expected reading of 33.7 in October, up from 18.4 last month.

One of the biggest gainers of the day was Intel, which announced after the closing bell on Tuesday that its third quarter was among the microchip maker's strongest despite only early signs of a recovery in the semiconductor sector.

Overseas markets were again mixed on Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei stock average closed 0.6 percent lower, while France's CAC-40, Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX indexes all gained about 0.8 percent.

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