Intel ( INTC), which was downgraded to neutral from buy, was off $1.31, or 4.9%, to $25.35. AMD ( AMD) fell 36 cents, or 4.8%, to $7.14, touching a new 52-week low. In addition, Texas Instruments ( TXN) fell $1.05, or 3.1%, to $32.35, and LSI ( LSI) was down 43 cents, or 8.1%, to $4.88. National City ( NCC) was one of the financial sector's most notable losers Wednesday as the Cleveland bank set plans to slice its dividend nearly in half and close its wholesale-mortgage division. The company's shares fell 4.3% to $15.75 on word its quarterly payout would be cut to 21 cents a share from 41 cents. "Today's environment requires aggressive steps to overcome the near-term challenges facing the industry and our company, while positioning our businesses to continue delivering solid performance," said National City Chairman, President and CEO Peter E. Raskind, in a press release. At the same time, National City has shut down its wholesale mortgage division, a move that others in the industry have already made, resulting in the elimination of 900 jobs. IBM fell 3.2% after the company confirmed that it has acquired Israeli data storage startup XIV Information Systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but earlier media reports priced the purchase between $300 million and $350 million. IBM fell $3.41 to $104.69.
One of the day's big losers, VeriFone ( PAY), sank 14.8% to $19.81 after announcing that it will restate financial results for the first three quarters of its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2007. The San Jose, Calif.-based maker of electronic payment systems said after the market close Monday that it is uncertain how much time it will take for an audit committee to complete its investigation of events leading up to the restatements, but that it's unlikely to file its annual report before March. On the winning side, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Akeena Solar ( AKNS) jumped 43.8% to $11.45 on news that the maker of solar systems landed a distribution deal with Suntech ( STP). Suntech will distribute Akeena's Andalay panels in Europe, Japan and Australia starting this month. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Also, Cardinal Financial ( CFNL) rose 0.4%, Synovus ( SNV) gained 2.7%, and Green Bankshares ( GRNB) climbed 7.3% after Keefe Bruyette & Woods put them on its "best ideas" list. Elsewhere, Millennium Pharmaceuticals ( MLNM) got a bump from an analyst report. Leerink and Swann analyst Howard Liang upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform based on the results of a MEDACorp survey. He said doctors indicated that it was the lack of FDA approval and phase III data, rather than clinical concerns, that limited the use of multiple myeloma drug Velcade. The earlier FDA approval of Velcade compared to Celgene's ( CELG) Revlimid as a first-line treatment for multiple myeloma in mid-2008 and also reimbursement incentives lead Liang to believe the drug will garner sales above street expectations. Both drugs are expected to see sales growth. Millennium's shares garnered $1.45, or 9.7%, arriving at 16.41 on Wednesday, while Celgene was trading up 95 cents, or 2%, at $47.15.