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Bears prowl Wall Street as jitters grow on outlook

NEW YORK, Oct 19, 2007 (AFP) - A horrific week on Wall Street has put the bears in command as the market braces for more bleak news from the US housing front and earnings that may show how companies are weathering the storm. In the week ended Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 4.05 percent to 13.522.02 as the blue-chip index retreated from its highs of October 9 above 14,000 points.

The broad market Standard & Poor's 500 index sank 3.92 percent to 1,500.63 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 2.87 percent to 2,725.16. The stock market was roiled over the past week by weaker-than-expected data from the struggling real estate sector, with new housing starting sliding to a 14-year low, and earnings reports from the financial sector that show the troubles spreading.

A struggling dollar and record high oil prices have also hurt sentiment.

Mary Ann Hurley said crude oil's jump above 90 dollars is worrisome for the outlook.

"The rise in oil and gasoline prices has traditionally acted as a tax on the consumer," she said.

"Consumers have already started reducing their demand for oil due to higher prices, an apparent softening of the labor market, tightening of loan standards and the deterioratin

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