Updated from 3:18 p.m. ESTThe minutes of the Federal Reserve's Dec. 11 meeting, released Wednesday, compounded the market's pessimism, and helped lead the market to one of its worst first trading days of the year ever. Insight into the Fed's thinking on its December decision to lower the federal funds rate by 25 basis points came on the heels of the new year's first economic data point, which highlighted the economy's turn for the worse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 was down Wednesday morning when investors learned that the Institute for Supply Management's read on economic activity fell to it's lowest level in four and half years. The ISM survey indicated a contracting economy with a reading below 50 for December of 47.7. Analysts had expected a 50.5 reading. Likewise threatening the economic picture was the price of oil Wednesday, which reached $100 per barrel for the first time in history. By the end of the trading day, the Dow fell 1.67%, or 220 points, its worst first day of the year ever, according to Dow Jones. The S&P 500 slumped 1.4%, the sixth-worst start to year in history, according to Standard & Poor's. The financial sector was once again hard-hit, as fears that mortgage-related losses and a weak economy will intensify and speculation about layoffs in the space loomed. Shares of Goldman Sachs ( GS) were down 3.5%, Merrill Lynch ( MER) was off 1.7%, Citigroup ( C) was down 1.8% and Wachovia ( WB) sank 2.3%.