U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Friday after Reuters reported that European Central Bank Governing Council member Juergen Stark would resign amid disputes over the central bank's bond-buying program. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 178 points to 11,117. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 16 points to 1,169. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 28 points to 2,501. Investors are in a selling mood as the President did little to spark any confidence following his speech. The financials and commodities are leading the markets lower. Bank of America is looking to lay off 40,000 workers. Sallie Mae is one of the few financials higher on an upgrade. Goldman Sachs is modestly higher on no news. In the retail space, Kroger and Lulu Lemon are lower on downgrades. McDonalds is down 4% after reporting good global sales numbers. The stock has performed great of late. Ford is lower on cautious comments about auto sales. Best Buy is higher even though one analyst made cautious comments. The one sector showing a little life is the techs. Apple is performing well as sales continue to cook. Texas Instruments lowered guidance last night however, the stock is up nearly 2%. Intel opened lower, but rebounded into the green. Micron is also in the green, but the rest of the chips are not reacting. The semiconductor equipments makers like Applied Materials and KLA Tencor are up 2% on upgrades. Through the first hour the averages dipped lower only to rebound with a few more stocks moving into the green. Unfortunately, the rebound didn't last. Heading into the lunch hour the Dow fell 300 points. The Nasdaq dropped 55 points. Investors are sending a clear signal that the President's plan is not going to help the economy much and the European credit problems are getting much worse. In the afternoon the averages remained weak with plenty of stocks in particular financials making new 52 week lows. The only good news is hopefully we're getting closer to a resolution. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 303, or 2.7%, at 10,992, its worst day since Aug. 18 and first close below 11,000 since Aug. 22. The S&P 500 fell 31 points, or 2.7%, to 1,154. The Nasdaq Composite fell 61 points, or 2.4%, to 2,467. For the week, the Dow lost 2.2%; the S&P 500 fell 1.7%; and the Nasdaq Composite edged back 0.5%.
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