Around the World's Markets: NEW YORK

WALL STREET paused for breath as investors wondered whether the two-day rally had any real substance, and whether the White House sex scandal was truly finished with.

The Dow closed down 21.37 points at 8,693.28 after earlier gains were pulled back by programme selling despite good profits from computer company Dell. The Nasdaq closed down 12.43 points at 1,842.69, while the Standard & Poor's 500 shed 3.14 points to 1,098.06.