Iraq, Jobs Data Hit Stocks

Higher then expected weekly jobless claims and nervousness ahead of Friday’s UN meeting on Iraq sent stocks lower on Thursday.

Intel warned after the close, and February unemployment numbers will be released Friday morning.

The Nasdaq fell 11 to 1302, the S&P 500 lost 7 to 822, and the Dow dropped 101 to 7673. Volume declined to 1.28 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.27 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 20-12 on the NYSE, and 19-12 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 66% on the NYSE, and 67% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 81-174 on the NYSE, and 48-105 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Intel fell 4% after guiding estimates to the low end of the range. UTStarcom fell on a convertible offering. TiVo beat estimates.

During the day, McData rose 3.1% and gave storage stocks a boost with better than expected results.

Gateway was unchanged after announcing a restructuring plan.

National Semi gained 2.7% after matching estimates.

Microsoft , off 0.7%, released a beta of IM and collaboration software.

NVIDIA , down 1.7%, and ATI , up 2.2%, released dueling graphics chips.

LookSmart rose 1.3% on a deal with Road Runner.

Verizon , off 3.6%, was fined $5.7 million by the FCC.

Sirius Satellite fell 7.6% despite a potential rescue from bankruptcy. gained 10% on an upgrade.

Standard and Poors, meanwhile, said 2003 will be another tough year for telecoms.

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