Dow Watch: Brutal Day for BofA

The Dow loses 1.5%, falling for the fourth time in five days.
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Updated from 4:21 p.m. EST

BofA. The Biggest Loser Again

(At 5:27 p.m. EST)

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

simply had an awful day on the

Dow

, plunging 11.3% to $4.70 and hitting its worst level in what appears to be at least 19 years. At this point, investors just don't know what to expect for the future of the U.S. banking system, which has gone through so much change in the past half year.

BofA closed at $5.30 last time out, but once it fell below $5 Wednesday, selling picked up. Some institutional investors can't own stocks under that price, and that just made an already bad situation even worse.

The Dow's other financials were far better.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

and

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

closed higher, while

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

shed only a penny.

Meanwhile, reports from

The Charlotte Observer

and

Bloomberg

said BofA CEO Ken Lewis sent a letter to the bank's workers indicating that the board was uniform in supporting the company's business model. Shareholders don't really seem to have that same view. Consider this -- BofA closed 2008 at $14.08. Since then, it's dropped 67%.

Perhaps this

aircraft sale

will inspire some confidence.

Final numbers had the Dow overall down 121.70 points, or 1.5%, at 7956.66. For the year to date, it's lost 9.3%.

Triple-Digit Setback

(At 4:08 p.m. EST)

Based on the preliminary closing numbers, the

Dow

lost 122 points, or 1.5%, to end at 7957 Wednesday. That's the fourth loss in the last five days.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was the worst stock, sinking more than 11% to a multiyear low at $4.70.

Talk about selling with conviction -- volume in BofA exceeded 600 million shares, more than three times the daily average.

Of the 30 stocks, just six closed higher, and 24 fell.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was the best performer, tacking on 2.1%.

Bank of America Sinks Under $5

(At 2:23 p.m. EST)

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

shares are just getting punished again. Now, the stock has gone under $5, dropping more than 10% on the day to $4.76. After a quick check, I can't find a quote that low in at least some 16 years.

Early Gains Are Erased

(At 1:56 p.m. EST)

The slight gains of earlier have been replaced with losses for the

Dow

. Recently, the industrials were down about 104 points and were back under 8000. Just before 2 p.m. EST, 16 components were in the red.

Kraft

(KFT)

was still the biggest loser, but

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

, another weak stock all day, and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

were catching up.

Outside of Kraft, there wasn't a great deal of news coming from the components Wednesday.

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

were in a

Wall Street Journal

report that AT&T might be bidding for some

Verizon Wireless

assets that have to be shed, but neither stock was doing much.

A

Xinhua

report said

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

is planning 175 new restaurants in China this year, but again, not a great deal of movement in the stock.

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, meanwhile, said Tuesday night that U.K. regulators recommended its drug Sutent as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced kidney cancer.

As for the stock? You guessed it. Little changed.

Good Day for Financials

At 11:39 a.m. EST

About two hours into the trading day, the

Dow

was slightly higher, up 25 points at 8103. Of the 30 stocks in the index, 20 were up and 10 were down.

Financials were generally stronger, with

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

up 8.4% to $3.75,

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

adding 5% to $16.90 and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

better by 4.7% at $25.17.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

, though, was lagging again, losing 3% to $5.14.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was also a big winner, rising 6.1% to $14.42.

As for the losers,

Kraft

(KFT)

and

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

were the biggest decliners, falling 8.7% and 5.2%, respectively.

No Help From Kraft

At 9:30 a.m. EST

Kraft

(KFT)

looked set to be a weak spot on the

Dow

Wednesday after the packaged-food seller cut its forecast for 2009 and came in

short of estimates

for the most recent fourth quarter.

In fairness, the company said this year's earnings will probably be $1.88 a share, down from its prior expectation of $2, largely because of an exchange-rate hit and pension costs. However, investors didn't appear to be in a forgiving mood. Shares of Kraft were down 8.7% to $26.25 in the premarket.

For the fourth quarter, meanwhile, adjusted earnings edged down to 43 cents a share from 44 cents in the prior year. Analysts were looking for 44 cents this time around. As for revenue, the quarter's top line was up 6.2% to $10.8 billion, but that also was light. Full-year revenue rose 16.8% to $42.2 billion.

Kraft will likely be joined by

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

, which

disappointed Wall Street

after the close Tuesday, in a downbeat session.