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US stocks fall on bin Laden tape worries
( 2003-09-11 10:11) (Agencies)

Stocks sank on Wednesday as what was said to be new footage of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden rattled investors a day before the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

"It's human nature that once he (bin Laden) reappears after a long absence, it puts him right back in the spotlight, and with the anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow, it triggers some fears and memories of what happened," said Jeff Swensen, senior trader at John Hancock Advisers.

Stocks had been down earlier in the session on fears the market has rallied too far, too fast. Texas Instruments Inc. had offered hope the chip sector is improving, but its forecast failed to impress those who have already been anticipating a rebound. The Nasdaq has soared more than 36 percent so far this year on anticipation of a pickup in the economy and corporate profits.

Major market gauges ended down for a second day. The tech-packed Nasdaq composite index dropped 49.55 points, or 2.64 percent, to 1,823.88, suffering its biggest percentage drop in nearly two months.

The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average fell 86.74 points, or 0.91 percent, to 9,420.46. The broad Standard & Poor's 500 lost 12.24 points, or 1.20 percent, to 1,010.93.

Stocks extended losses in mid-afternoon after Arabic television al Jazeera showed what was said to be a new tape of al Qaeda leaders walking in the mountains. In audio run with the pictures, a voice said to be that of bin Laden praised the Sept. 11 attackers. The United States blames al Qaeda for the attacks, which killed about 3,000 people in New York and outside Washington.

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