Updated from 3:41 p.m. EST
Sabathia Yes, BofA No
(At 5:45 p.m. EST)
had its best moments just after the open Thursday, and from there on it was pretty much consistently downhill.
By the end of the session, the index had lost 88.81 points, or 1.2%, to 7182.08, its second straight decline. Only eight of its 30 stocks managed to climb. Two of those winners were banking components,
, up 6.1%, and
Bank of America
, higher by 3.1%.
was also positive, ahead by 3.6%.
The worst showings were from
, both lower by 6.7%.
had its own problems, dropping 4.1%.
For the session, the Dow traded in a range of 7173.56 to 7402.31. So far this year, the index is down 18.2%, and this month it has lost 10.2%.
Since this has been another frustrating day of watching the tape, at least if you like it when stocks go up, I'll close with something I think's on the lighter side. As far we know Citigroup's marketing deal with the New York Mets is still on. But across town in the Bronx, Bank of America and the Yankees have reportedly ended talks on a sponsorship arrangement they were considering.
Maybe that's not really on the lighter side, but I can't help but find
hysterical. And terrifying.
Another Late Downturn
(At 3:29 p.m. EST)
had a good morning, but the upswing was ever so brief. Fast forward to the final hour, and the index was hitting its worst levels of the day, dropping nearly 90 points, or 1.2%.
Losers were outpacing winners by a 2-to-1 margin on the Dow, with
the worst percentage decliner, falling more than 8%.
was also having a tough go of it, retreating 5.6%.
was the leader on the upside, adding 6%.
, with a 3.7% gain, was the next-best issue. Meanwhile,
Bank of America
had seen its increase pared to 2.7%, but that was still good enough to be the No. 3 advancer.
The market appeared to lose some of its momentum after the
came out with a statement saying that the commercial banks and savings institutions it insures lost $26.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008. In the same period the previous year, the banks earned $575 million. That was the first quarterly loss since 1990, the agency said.
We all knew it was bad, didn't we? I don't know. Maybe seeing such stark numbers was too much of a damper, or maybe it was just a coincidence. Or maybe it was the comment that the list of problem banks rose during the quarter from 171 to 252, the most since 1995. Would be nice to keep the failures to a minimum.
Despite the wretched overall results, there was one thing in the report I found at least a bit uplifting. The FDIC said that more than two-thirds of all the institutions it covers had a profit in the fourth quarter. Too bad those earnings were overshadowed by the mammoth losses at the big global banks.
Where Did Those Gains Go?
(At 12:59 p.m. EST)
had a nice start to the session Thursday, but as the day has progressed the gains have faded. Around lunchtime in the east, the index was up only about 28 points at 7299 after having been as high as 7402 an hour into trading.
Of the 30 stocks, 17 were up and 13 were down. Maybe the best news was that the banks were the best percentage gainers so far.
Bank of America
was up 9.7% at $5.66, and
, which was unfortunately detailing
, was rising 8.5% to $23.57.
was tacking on 0.8% at $2.54.
-- were also having upbeat sessions, climbing more than 4% each.
The worst stock was
, sliding 6% to $2.40 following its massive
. As an aside, the company still believes it's going to need more government help. Several billions of dollars worth, remember? Of course, compared with some of the banks out there, it almost sounds like a bargain.
Taking a quick look at what else is going on with the Dow 30, my colleague Richard Widows of the TSC Ratings group has a piece on
that's worth checking out. He says
might be, too.