Week and Month End Ugly as Dow Finishes Near Lows

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq join the Dow in the red. Plus, the White House will tap Chase's Carol Parry for the Fed board.
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Financial stocks turned in a cleaning-fish ugly performance, as most major market averages ended the session lower, led on the downside by the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

.

In late news, the White House reportedly is set to nominate Carol Parry, executive vice president for community reinvestment at

Chase

(CMB)

, for the open seat on the

Federal Reserve Board

.

The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index

slumped 2.6%, while the

American Stock Exchange Broker/Dealer Index

dropped 2.1%.

The Dow was dragged down the most by

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

, which was down 6 13/16, or 4.9%, to 131 3/4.

Stocks were higher early in the session, but began to fade late in the morning. The Dow and the

S&P 500

late in the afternoon encountered some fresh sellers and hit new intraday lows and ended just off their worst levels of the day. Meanwhile, after the

Russell 2000

hit its session bottom around 1:35 p.m. EDT, it rallied and ended with solid gains.

Volume was light overall. On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers outpaced decliners 1,493 to 1,441 on 725.7 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, winners beat losers 2,063 to 1,788 on 864.1 million shares.

On the NYSE, 157 issues set new 52-week lows while 45 touched new highs. On the Nasdaq, 77 issues set new 52-week highs while new lows totaled 66.

Market unfriendly economic news today -- on top of a significant jump in the

Employment Cost Index

yesterday -- fueled an already fearful market that is worried the

Federal Open Market Committee

will raise interest rates. The economic reports in question were the July

Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index

and June

new home sales

. The economic news also pressured the Treasury market.

On the Big Board,

America Online

(AOL)

most active with 18.7 million shares changing hands. It was down 3 5/8 to 95 1/8. It had traded as high as 100 1/2, intraday.

On the Nasdaq,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was most active with 28.2 million shares changing hands. It was down 7/16 to 69.

Market data above are preliminary. Updated numbers and analysis will follow in the Market Roundup

Earlier...

2:58 p.m.: Fresh Weakness Hits Blue-Chips as Final Hour Begins

Major stock proxies were mostly weaker heading into the final hour of trading, as

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

continued to weigh heavily on the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

.

2 p.m.: Blue-Chips Slip as American Express Gain Isn't in the Cards

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

continued to torpedo the blue-chip

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, as the market's major averages slipped into the red.

1:11 p.m.: Midday Musings: Morning Strength Yields to a Mixed Midday as Dow Falters

11:51 a.m.: American Express Helps Weigh Down Dow as Tech Rally Rolls On

A sizable drop in

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

had moved the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

into the red, while the tech sector remained solidly higher as the lunch hour approached on Wall Street.

11:07 a.m.: Comeback From Lows Continues, With Nasdaq Leading

Despite a slump in the Treasury market and concern the

Fed

will raise interest rates, stocks were posting gains this morning after enduring a beating

yesterday. But the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lately was struggling around the break-even mark.

9:53 a.m.: Stocks Bounce Back to Open With Some Strength

Stocks were beginning to recover from the hefty losses they suffered

yesterday, but the 30-year Treasury bond slumped again, sending its yield to 6.11%.

The selloff yesterday was prompted in large part by a higher-than-expected

Employment Cost Index

reading, sparking fears the

Fed

will raise rates.