Dow Watch: Citigroup Climbs, but GE Drops

Citigroup and Bank of America are the best stocks on the Dow Monday. GE falls more than 5%.
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Updated from 1:06 p.m. EST

Lowest Close in a Dozen Years

(At 5:47 p.m. EST)

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

finally got some help from

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

.

Unfortunately, nothing else went along, and the index slumped 250.89 points, or 3.4%, to 7114.78 Monday. That's the worst close since May 1997. You read that right.

Citi and BofA, whose shares have been hammered almost daily, were the only gainers on the Dow, rising 9.7% to $2.14 and 3.2% to $3.91, respectively. They were also the most active issues. The only other stock to make a run at a win was

GM

(GM) - Get Report

, which ended the day unchanged at $1.77.

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

and

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

were the worst components on a percentage basis, tumbling more than 7% each.

GE

(GE) - Get Report

was awful, dropping 5.7% to $8.85.

Really just not a lot of good to report about the day. The decline was the third consecutive setback for the index and the eighth time in the last 10 sessions it has fallen. Since its best-ever closing high in October 2007, the Dow is now lower by a stomach-churning 49.8%. This month the loss stands at 11.1%, and for the year the decrease has widened to 18.9%.

I hate to be a pessimist, but it it's hard to find a reason why this wretched downtrend would end anytime soon and for any measurable stretch.

You want to buy most stocks right now? Maybe they are cheap, but they've been cheap for a long, long time, and they just keep getting cheaper. Good luck if you can afford it.

The Geithner plan wasn't the answer for Wall Street, the stimulus plan hasn't been the solution. The non-nationalization plan was a temporary reprieve for Citi, but is that going to turn things around? Wish I had the answer. Maybe we should try prayer.

The Selloff Worsens

(At 12:58 p.m. EST)

Bad situation developing on the

Dow

. Now only two financials are higher as the index continues to deteriorate. Recently, the industrial average was off 158 points to 7207, its low of the day, putting it in a position to have its worst close in more than a decade.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was up 8.2% at $2.11, and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was ahead by 5.8% at $4.01, but those gains were only about half of what they had been.

Just two other stocks were positive,

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

GM

(GM) - Get Report

, while

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

was unchanged.

The worst stock was

GE

(GE) - Get Report

, down 5.5% at $8.86 on worries about its

real-estate investments

.

Banks Among the Few Winners

(At 11:40 a.m. EST)

So we have a report that

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

has come up with a plan that could end in the U.S. government owning as much as 40% of the

bank's common stock

. That obviously falls short of full government ownership, but it's also about five times what Washington currently holds.

Even if it isn't a complete

nationalization

, isn't that getting a little too close for comfort? I think I'm with those who are

struggling

to embrace the new development.

However, shareholders have reacted positively, even if it's going to mean diluting today's owners. Citi was the best performer on the

Dow

, gaining 11.3% to $2.17.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was up 8.7% to $4.12, and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

was better by 3.2% at $20.54.

Aside from those three though, only five more of the Dow's 30 stocks were up Monday.

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

was one of them, adding 0.8% following an

upgrade at Deutsche Bank

.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, however, wasn't as fortunate in the wake of negative comments at Barclays, The firm cut its estimates on the software giant, and its shares were down 2.2%.

Now let's switch gears and talk

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

. Actually, here's a better idea. Take a look at the video below.

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