Updated from 3:52 p.m. EST
Another Down Day
(At 5:15 p.m. EST)
I guess it could've been worse, but the
ended Friday with another loss. The index fell 100.28 points, or 1.3%, to 7365.67, putting its decline for the week at nearly 485 points, or 6.2%. That made for the 13th time in the last 16 weeks the Dow has retreated.
Only six of the 30 stocks rose. The telecom names were the biggest winners, with
up 2.9% to $28.81 and
better by 1.7% at $23.58.
The worst stock was
, off 22.3% to $1.95, and that wasn't even its low of the day. At one point, Citi fell all the way to $1.61. Traders were extremely busy, swapping 615 million shares, or more than double the daily average.
Bank of America
fared considerably better. Though it closed lower by 3.6% to $3.79, at its nadir it was down an almost unimaginable 36%. Volume was staggering in BofA, as nearly 835 million shares traded. On a normal day, about 227 million shares change hands.
Thus far in February, the Dow has given back 7.9%, and in 2009, it's lost 16.1%. Enough of that for now. It's exhausting. Let's just agree to enjoy the 48-hour break.
Say No to Nationalization
(At 3:35 p.m. EST)
I sincerely hope we're not setting ourselves up for another disappointment. But who wants to be negative late on a Friday afternoon? Not me, so I'll take a little good news.
Word that the Obama administration feels that a
"is the correct way to go" pulled the
financial components off their lows of the session by alleviating, for now at least, the worst of the fears about a government takeover.
Concerns that the common shares of
Bank of America
were about to be erased by our elected leaders had sent both stocks, already worth mere fractions of what they were not that long ago, into a tailspin in recent days.
Since it looks like the big nationalization won't be happening, traders rejoiced. Somewhat, anyway. Citi was still down 19%, and BofA was off 7%, but it had been far worse. Look, it's a good thing we got the White House comments when we did. They certainly offset Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, who said banks might have to be nationalized for a bit in order for them to stay afloat.
He's already a senator, so those remarks were serious enough, but when you consider that he's chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, well, let's just say it's cause for considerable alarm when you're the one holding the common equity.
Too Bad This Happened
(At 2:25 p.m. EST)
Perfect. Here's the setup for the next leg down.
Steve Liesman just reported that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner plans to release "some details" about the bank rescue plan next week.
Why does the government do this to us? We have a nebulous statement that we'll get another maybe slightly less nebulous statement in just a few days. Remember how well that worked out
? Not sure we need this type of telegraphing.
I know our officials in Washington have their hands full, and I am not about to underestimate the enormous task they have in front of them, but Wall Street, as we all know, hates uncertainty. Let's hope for real clarity this time. Otherwise ... yeah, you got it.
Is the Day Over Yet?
(At 1:52 p.m. EST)
Look out below. The
was falling hard with about two hours left in the trading day, sliding 182 points, or 2.4%, to 7284. At this point, the index is threatening to close at its worst point in more than 11 years. Where were you in 1997?
The obliteration was far and wide, and numerous components of the Dow were at multiyear lows.
just flashed this on the screen --
hasn't seen this price, around $23, in its publicly traded history, and
hasn't been here, about $6, in two decades.
I assure you I take no pleasure in any of this, because I also hope to retire some day. When is this selling going to stop? Does anyone know where the bottom is, and if so, can we go ahead and fast forward there?
Bank of America
. Down 28% at $2.84.
plunging 29% to $1.78. Both on tremendously high volume.
Not every day you see nearly 30% single-day declines in two of the biggest banks on the planet. Talk about a no-confidence vote from traders. We know the banks are still going to be here in some form. I suppose the question people are asking, and right now they can't answer, is will the stocks be?
Brutal Morning for the Banks
(At 10:15 a.m. EST)
Ugly start for the
Friday. The index had a triple-digit loss right out of the gate, with financials yet again the weakest area. As the morning progressed though, the decline was being pared a bit.
Only five of the 30 stocks were trading higher, led by a 2.2% gain in
The banks continue to be punished as traders can't stop fretting that the government is about to force a remake that will render the equity practically if not completely worthless. The
on Yahoo! Finance had an interesting piece on this topic Thursday. I don't know if that will ultimately be the case, but I do know this -- these stocks seem to go down just about every day.
was sinking 17% to $2.08,
Bank of America
was dropping 13.5% to $3.40, and
was losing 3.7% to $19.84.
Speaking of BofA,
The Wall Street Journal
reported that the company's chairman and CEO,
received a subpoena last week from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. He's looking into whether the bank withheld information from investors ahead of the
was still in the news, this time on word that its Sweden-based
unit has filed for protection from its creditors. The carmaker wants to be spun off or sold by its
Another report says
believes a tie-up with GM remains the "best option for the U.S. auto industry." Here's a thought: The best option, or at least a good start, might be to make cars that look like something people want to buy instead of the mostly bland offerings we've gotten these past few years from our friends in Michigan. Would that be too much to ask?
Now that I've gotten that out, let's revisit a topic that we covered earlier this week. You might remember that
had a column discussing what a Dow makeover might look like, now my colleague Rob Holmes has talked to some of his sources on Wall Street about some changes they think
for the index.
Finally check out the video below. In it, Dan Fitzpatrick discusses the charts on the Dow that look OK. Problem is, he says there's only one.
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