U.S. stocks opened lower, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average under 7,000 for the first time since October 28, 1997, after insurance giant AIG reported a $61.7 billion quarterly loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 132 points to 6,930. The S&P 500 dropped 15 points to 720, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 18 points to 1,359. Citigroup is unchanged, but the other big banks are moving lower. Bank of America is down 10% on concerns they are the next firm to receive government money. PNC is down 3% after slashing their dividend. Berkshire Hathaway had its worse year ever in 2008. Buffet is not that optimistic about the economy in 2009. Berkshire is down 7%. Outside the financials, things are not as bad, but not good. All the commodities are lower. The healthcare sector resumes their downward drift. Wellpoint was upgraded, but the stock is down 4%. The big techs are holding in there. Dell is up 5% on an upgrade and a positive piece in Barrons. Corning is unchanged after providing encouraging forecast for 2009. After the first half an hour, the averages remain weak, but off the lows. Through the morning, the averages pushed lower. The Dow dropped over 200 points. Nothing looks good. There are no buyers left. In the afternoon, more of the same. The CEO of Bank of America is out defending his company, but it's not helping. The CEO of GE and the Vice Chairman of GE are both buying 50,000 shares. It's not helping either, but my question is, what's a Vice Chairman do? In the last hour, the selling accelerated with the Dow dropped over 300 points. The S&P 500 broke 700 for the first time in 12 years. Both averages are down 55% from the highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 299 points, or 4.2%, to 6,763. The S&P 500 shed 34 points, or 2.7%, to 700, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 54 points, or 4%, to 1,322.
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