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By John E. Fitzgibbon, Jr.

Before the Bell - Thursday, Oct. 25

In pre-market trading, stock futures started trading lower and turned weaker on the 8:30 am economic news. There were additional bioterrorism scares. The indication is for a lower opening for stocks.

Economic data on tap today:
September durable goods reported down 8.5 percent; lower than consensus estimates of down 1.0 percent.
Initial jobless claims for the week of Oct. 20 reported 504,000; higher than consensus estimate of 500,000. Third-quarter cost index up 1.0 percent; higher than consensus estimate of up 0.9 percent. Third-quarter 2000 was up 4.1 percent. September Existing-home is expected to be 5.05 million.

It'll be another busy day for corporate earnings. More than 360 companies are expected to report quarterly earnings.

Earnings reports before the bell:
ChevronTexaco (NYSE: CVX) expected to report $1.45 a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call consensus. The company reported a profit of $2.42 a year-ago. Later to day: Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW), the U.S. second largest chemical company, reported earnings of $0.06 a share, below estimates of $0.19 a share. The company reported a profit of $0.40 a year-ago.

Two IPOs were priced. They were: Cross Country (Nasdaq: CCRN) at $17 a share and Penn Virginia Resources Partners (NYSE: PVR). It was the first time since July 26 that two new issues were priced the same day.

Overseas markets:
European stocks extended losses after the European Central Bank left euro zone interest rates unchanged. Asian stocks finished most higher.