Stocks head lower - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Stocks head lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock prices are lower in early trading.

  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 250 points.

  The Nasdaq Composite Index is off 25 points and the Standard-and-Poor's 500 Stock Index is down 29 points.

  Investors are focused corporate earnings and other pressures hurting economic prospects.

  The shift in focus has been away from improvement in the credit markets.

  Overseas markets were sharply lower ahead of the opening bell.

  Wachovia Corp., being purchased by Wells Fargo, swung to a massive loss in the third quarter.

  The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank reported a net loss after paying preferred dividends of nearly $24 billion.

  Drugmaker Merck & Co. said its quarterly profit fell 28 percent.

  It plans to cut 7,200 jobs.

  Credit markets are showing more signs of improvement.

  Bank-to-bank lending rates fell sharply overnight, indicating that credit is becoming easier to obtain.

  The London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, on three-month loans in dollars fell to 3.54 percent from 3.83 percent, dropping for an eighth straight day.

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