Updated from 1:23 p.m. EST
Banks Sink Again
(At 6:10 p.m. EST)
If I told you the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 89.68 points Thursday, you might not think that was too terrible. Trouble is, that was enough to leave the index at 7465.95, its lowest close since Oct. 9, 2002. That's bad.
As an aside, another Oct. 9, the one in 2007, marked the record finish for the Dow. That day, the average went out at 14,164.53. Unfortunately, since then it's lost 47.3%. That's also bad.
With the decline, the Dow has dropped six of the past eight trading days and is down 6.7% thus far in February. Since the start of the year, it's fallen 14.9%.
Once again, financials tumbled.
Bank of America
slumped to $3.93, and
fell to $2.51 -- both declines of some 14%.
slid 8.7%, and
decreased more than 4%.
, weak all day, ended down 7.9% at $31.39.
The good news is 10 of the 30 stocks managed to rise.
were the best performers, up 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively.
Fine, maybe that's not really good news. But this is -- tomorrow's Friday. And after that, a couple of days off from trading. Last Monday's holiday really seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?
Cold November Low
(At 1:05 p.m. EST)
started the session a bit higher Thursday, but lately it's been in retreat. Recently, the index was down 42 points at 7513. Obviously, that's not a steep loss for a single day, but it does put the Dow under its Nov. 20 low at 7552.29, the worst point for the measure in more than five years.
As the industrials have pulled back this year, traders have repeatedly discussed that level as one to watch. The worry is that if the Dow falls below it, selling could accelerate. We have no way of knowing that will happen of course, but considering the extreme pessimism these days, it'll be fine with me if those fears aren't put to the test.
Looking at the 30 individual stocks, breadth wasn't bad at all, as 14 rose, 15 fell, and one stock,
, was unchanged.
was the best performer, up 1.8% to $21.52.
was registering a 1.7% gain after the soft drinks maker lifted its quarterly dividend to 41 cents a share from 38 cents, while both
were up 1.6%.
However, the pain being inflicted by the laggards was more than enough to put the average in the red. On the downside were the usual suspects.
Bank of America
were getting hammered, giving back more than 10%.
was worse by 7%.
was another notable loser, dropping 7.7% to $31.47 following its
after the close Wednesday. The other tech stocks on the Dow were also giving up ground.
We all know these are difficult days to be investing in equities. So what might lead to a reversal? Over on
, Jim Cramer says it could be