Dow Watch: Ugly Day for GM

GM, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase are the weakest stocks on the Dow Tuesday.
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Updated from 3:07 p.m. EST

Only One Winner

(At 5:25 p.m. EST)

Might be better to look away. This was not a banner session for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which saw 29 of its 30 components fall Tuesday, many of them substantially.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

was the only stock that managed to climb, gaining 3.7% to $48.24. Otherwise, it was a horror show.

The weakest component was

GM

(GM) - Get Report

, down 12.8% to $2.18, but

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

all also surrendered more than 12%.

Need more evidence of how bad it was?

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

fell 9.8%,

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

dropped 11.3%,

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

sank 6.3%.

Do we fully appreciate how staggering some of these moves are? Or have we become numb to these gigantic triple-digit plunges? Remember for a minute that these are the stocks of some of the biggest and best-known -- and at least at one time healthiest -- companies in the world. Just getting trampled. Hard to watch sometimes.

All told the index fell 297.81 points, or 3.8%, to 7552.60, the third consecutive decline and the lowest finish since Nov. 20, the day it hit its worst point in more than five years. Nearly $98 billion in market capitalization was erased.

For the month, the Dow has given back 5.6%, and its loss for 2009 has swelled to almost 14%.

And This Is an Improvement

(At 2:50 p.m. EST)

With about an hour left in the trading session, the

Dow

is slightly better than it had been earlier, but it was still down 236 points, or 3%.

As has been the case for pretty much the entire day,

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

remains the only stock in the green. However,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

has fought back and is now unchanged. The other 28 stocks are showing losses.

The decline in

GM

(GM) - Get Report

has worsened, and shares of the automaker are down 12.4%, putting the stock at $2.19. It was the biggest percentage loser on the Dow.

Speaking of GM, Jim Cramer has written a column in which he says yet another remaking of the Dow might not be too far off. Check out his thoughts on the possibility of an

extreme makeover

for the index.

Let's Take Another Day Off

(At 11:50 a.m. EST)

Reasons why Washington's

aid plans

won't really work. Who knows if

Detroit

can be salvaged? Manufacturing is still tanking. More

banks are failing

. Layoffs. Bankruptcies.

Go to any publication covering business and finance, including this one, and these are the headlines you'll see. Any surprise that the

Dow

is down more than 3%?

Some piece of good news would be a start. Otherwise, we're just going to have to hope for another Puppycam to take our minds off all the gloom. The economy might not be in a depression, but individual investors can be forgiven if they are. I know I'm not the only one who stopped looking at my retirement plan statements.

What is working today? Safety and fear. Treasury prices were jumping, and gold was up nearly $29 an ounce to $971.

As for the Dow,

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

was the only winner of the 30 components, adding 3.1%.

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

were dropping more than 7%.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was losing 8.6%.

GM

(GM) - Get Report

was another big drag, worse by 8.8%. I guess there's just not a great deal of optimism about the plan Rick Wagoner and friends have formulated to give to the government. Not that there seems to be a great deal of optimism about anything right now. Ugh. Wake me up when 2010 gets here.

Not Looking So Good

(At 9:15 a.m. EST)

Hope you enjoyed the three-day weekend, because the holiday appears to be over.

The U.S. market looked like it was set to open the shortened trading week with losses as uplifting news was hard to find and overseas markets were sliding.

Dow

futures, as was the case with contracts on the

Nasdaq 100

and the

S&P

, were weak.

Of course, a series of articles in the past few hours involving the intense pressure

GM

(GM) - Get Report

is under to turn around its fortunes weren't helping the situation. The company has planned a news conference for this evening to talk about its

restructuring

, which investors hope will be enough to convince the government it can find a way to become a profitable enterprise.

Meanwhile, over at

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, the world's biggest retailer

topped analysts' profit estimates

for the fourth quarter, though revenue was a little light. The forecast for the fiscal first quarter and the 2010 fiscal year wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly robust either. No real surprise there though considering the turmoil in the economy.

And this is no good.

The New York Post

says

Citigroup's

(C) - Get Report

attempts to bring in new funds by selling some of its assets isn't working out the way CEO Vikram Pandit would like. That's because potential buyers only want the divisions Citi wants to hang onto. The result? Shares of Citi were down more than 7% in the premarket.

Also under pressure in the early going was

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

. Down 8.4%.

So hang on, because this could be a long day.