News Column

Financial Companies Lead Way Down as Markets Plummet

Aug. 11, 2011

Bloomberg News

Bear market

Financial shares led a renewed plunge on Wall Street Wednesday that pushed stock prices back to September 2010 levels.

All 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell at least 2 percent, weighed down by stubborn fears about the European debt situation and global economy.

Among top U.S. banks, Bank of America and Citigroup each fell more than 10 percent, pacing losses in financial shares, as the costs to protect the government debt of Greece, Italy, Spain and France rose. Walt Disney, the largest theme-park company, tumbled $3.16 to $31.54 on concerns that the slowing economy and consumer confidence may hurt its businesses.

The S&P 500 fell 51.77 points, or 4.4 percent, to 1120.76, after rallying 4.7 percent on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 519.83 points, or 4.6 percent, to 10,719.94. The Nasdaq composite slid 101.47 points, or 4.1 percent, to 2381.05.

Stocks fell across the globe Wednesday as the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index lost 3.8 percent. A gauge of European banks tumbled 6.7 percent.

But banks did even worse in the U.S., as the KBW bank index of 24 stocks slumped 8.2 percent.

Highlights: Among battered financial shares, BofA fell 83 cents (11%) to $6.77, Citigroup sank $3.33 (10 percent) to $28.49, Goldman Sachs fell $12.39 (10 percent) to $110.34, Comerica lost $2.58 (10 percent) to $24.22, Regions Financial decreased 55 cents (12 percent) to $4.23, SunTrust Banks slid $2.29 (11 percent) to $17.69 and Hartford Financial fell $2.23 (11 percent) to $18.15. Federated Investors fell $1.55 (8 percent) to $16.91 after Citigroup rated the investment management firm a "sell."

Primo Water plunged $8.52, or 61 percent, to $5.40, the biggest drop in the Russell 2000 index. The provider of bottled water and water dispensers forecast a third-quarter loss excluding items of at least 3 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated Primo would earn 8 cents a share.

Among the few bright spots, Polo Ralph Lauren climbed $5.43 to $125.28, a 5 percent gain that was the best in the S&P 500. The clothing retailer reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.90 a share, exceeding analysts' estimate of $1.47.

BioLase Technology rallied 55 cents to $3.33, a 20 percent gain that boosted its two-day rise to 46 percent. The medical-device maker said it plans to buy back as many as 2 million shares.

Source: Copyright USA Today 2011

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