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Stocks Drop Again Ahead of Presidents Day

Updated from 4:09 p.m. EST

Stocks in New York dragged into the close of an ugly week, as investors didn't fall in love with the various strategies coming out of Washington to treat the economic crisis -- among them the historic economic stimulus plan, which the House passed in its latest form Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 82.35 points, or 1%, to 7850.41, and the S&P 500 was down 8.4 points, or 1%, at 826.84. The Nasdaq flirted with positive territory, but closed the day down 7.35, or 0.5%, at 1534.36.

For the week, the Dow lost 5.2%, the S&P shed 4.8%, and the Nasdaq gave up 3.6%.

Leading the Dow's losses today were General Motors (GM), which gave up 5.7% to $2.50, while Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan (JPM) shed 5.1% and 5.7%, respectively.

Boeing (BA - Get Report) and Hewlett Packard (HP) helped provide a little balance, managing gains of 1.6% and 1.8%.

An active sector again this week, banks were underperforming Friday, with the KBW Bank Index down 5.3% for the day.

"By far the focus of the financial universe is on Washington," says Gerard Comizio, senior partner in Paul Hastings' Financial Services Practice Group, specializing in financial service matters, and corporate, transactional, securities and regulatory matters arising under the banking laws.

Earlier in the week, financials took the brunt of cross-sector beating after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented the framework of the next-step bank cleanup plan, and investors found little relief in the economic stimulus plan that is now awaiting a final vote in the Senate after being validated by House Democrats Friday. The vote was 246-183, with not a single Republican voting in favor of the bill. The bill now awaits Senate approval.
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