Financial stocks plunged Thursday on fears that war will erupt in the Mideast.
Major brokerage stocks, including
, took a heavy beating on the
New York Stock Exchange
. Also getting hammered were big financial names such as
American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index
was down 4.1%, and the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index
was off 4.6%.
"Clearly, with the international events transpiring, it adds another level of uncertainty to the equation," says John Babyak, portfolio manager at
WHB/Wolverine Asset Management
in Stamford, Conn.
"Obviously we're in a very precarious time with the market, and oil spiking" isn't helping matters any, says Babyak.
Lehman was off $8.88, or 7.7%, to $115.13; Goldman Sachs was down $6.75, or 6.5%, to $97.25; J.P. Morgan was down $7.19, or 4.9%, to $139.63; Citigroup was down $2.94, or 5.9%, to $49.56; and Chase was falling $2.06, or 5.1%, to $38.63.
The selling pressure was not as heavy for regional banks.
was down $2, or 4.4%, to $43, while
was down 50 cents, or 2.5%, to $22.38 and
was off $1.50, or 2.9%, to $50.75.
The renewed selloff comes just a day after the sector breathed a sigh of relief, says Bill Schneider, head of U.S. equity block trading at
. Schneider pointed to
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's
move Wednesday to clear the rumors of junk-bond trading losses that had dogged the stock and the broader sector in recent days.
One of the few large issues being spared the pain Thursday was Dow Jones Industrial Average component
, which was drawing strength from a