U.S. stocks open at new 12-year lows, with financial shares paving the declines, amid ongoing unease about the future of the financial system. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 42 points to 6,584. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 679, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 5 points to 1,288. The banking concerns were sparked by Lloyds of London accepting more British government money, concerns about Barclays, and Senator Shelby making statements over the weekend indicating that some major banks should be allowed to fail. How bad is the doom and gloom. Here's a stat, 99% of the NYSE is now below the 200 day moving average. Shortly after the open, the averages moved into the green including the financials. Wells Fargo and US Bancorp are higher on positive comments from one of their largest shareholders, Warren Buffett. Capital One is up 11% after cutting their dividend. GE is up 4%. GE Capital will sell U.S. guaranteed bonds this week. One major merger over the weekend. Merck is buying Schering Plough for $41 billion. Merck is down 10% while Schering is up 13%. Dow Chemical and Rohm Haas are back in talks, lifting Rohm Haas by 5%. The techs are modestly higher. Amazon and Microsoft are higher on upgrades. Google is lower on concerns of slowing sales. IBM is lower as well. The averages jumped on news the Fed Chairman would attend the President's daily economic briefing, but then sold off. After the first hour of trading, the Dow was up 40 points. The Nasdaq up 12 points. The retail sector and commodities are performing well. So far so good. Through the morning the averages pulled back into the red. Here we go again. During the lunch hour, the bulls pushed the averages back in the green. The financials look good again. Wells Fargo is up 20% thanks to Warren Buffett talking it up. After the lunch hour, the averages sold back off. Here we go again. Aetna reaffirmed guidance. They expect to make nearly $4 in earnings and yet the stock is only at $20 a share. Great valuation, but no one cares. Entering the last hour, the averages remained weak. The Dow was down 55 points. The Nasdaq declined 20 points. A number of techs are noticeably weak including Google, IBM, HP, and Apple. Tough market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 79 points, or 1.2%, at 6,547. The S&P 500 dropped 6 points, or 1%, to 676 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 25 points, or 2%, to 1,268, its lowest close since October 2002.
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