Stocks Slip As Focus Turns Toward Home

Stocks traded in a narrow range Tuesday before closing modestly lower, as traders shifted their attention from the war in Iraq to corporate earnings and the economy.

The Nasdaq lost 6 to 1382, the S&P 500 slipped 1 to 878, and the Dow lost 1 to 8298. Volume declined to 1.22 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.3 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 18-14 on the NYSE, and 17-13 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 64% on the NYSE, and 70% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 39-25 on the NYSE, and 66-43 on the Nasdaq.

Microchip and RF Micro plunged on warnings. Chip stocks were also hit by weak chip equipment sales.

Qualcomm fell 5% after SoundView cut estimates.

Microsoft rose 1.6% despite a Windows Server code leak. The company also plans a new set-top OS.

Yahoo slipped 0.8% ahead of earnings tomorrow night. IBM reports next Monday, and Microsoft and Intel on Tuesday.

United Online lost 2.5% on plans to enter the high-speed dial-up market.

E*Trade slipped 2% after shaking up its board of directors.

EMC lost 2% despite reaffirming guidance. EMC also released a records retention system.

Siebel and AT&T edged higher on an alliance.

VeriSign gained 1% on a new security offering.

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