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Dow falls due to weakness in IBM, oil shares

NEW YORK, April 20, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - The Dow slid Wednesday following
disappointing IBM earnings and a pullback in petroleum-linked shares due to a steep drop in oil prices.

IBM slumped 4.9 percent as it reported a 13 percent drop in first-quarter profit to $1.8 billion and suffered its 20th straight quarter of year-over-year revenue declines.

Fellow blue-chip companies ExxonMobil and Chevron dropped a respective 0.7 percent and 1.4 percent as a US petroleum inventory report showing higher gasoline supplies pressured oil prices.

Analysts also cited lingering worries about geopolitical issues, including Sunday's first round of the French presidential election which has implications for the future of the eurozone.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6 percent to 20,404.49.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.2 percent to 2,338.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.2 percent at 5,863.03.

Twenty-First Century Fox fell 0.8 percent as Fox News severed its relationship with Bill O'Reilly, dumping America's most-watched cable news anchor after a flood of sexual-harassment allegations and an advertiser boycott.

Morgan Stanley rose 1.9 percent after reporting a 74.4 percent increase in first-quarter earnings on strong trading results.

Semiconductor company Lam Research surged 6.9 percent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings and surprising the market with a bullish forecast for the current quarter.