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Markets ignore mergers, sink to new lows

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Brendan McDermid/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. Mergers announced Monday generated little investor enthusiasm.

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The stock market moved lower Thursday, closing in on new multiyear lows that reflected the continued lack of optimism on Wall Street.

Big deals – signed or in process – failed to lift the market.

NASDAQ at six-year low

The biggest tumble came from the NASDAQ, which fell 25.21 points to 1268.64. That's the lowest level for the tech-heavy index since Oct. 16, 2002. Big computermakers Apple Computer, Dell, and Hewlett Packard fell between 2.6 percent to 5.1 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79.89 points to 6547.05, its lowest level since April 14, 1997.

S&P at 1996 low

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index has fallen to more than 12-year lows. On Thursday, it fell 6.85 points to to 676.53 – a low not seen since Sept. 12, 1996.

Drugmakers Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. agreed to merge in a $41.1 billion deal, but investors weren't impressed. Dow Chemical finally is poised to take over specialty chemicalmaker Rohm and Haas in a tentative $15.4 billion deal announced near the end of the trading day. Roche Holding AG is considering buying 44 percent of biotech company Genentech in a $46.7 billion proposal.

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