U.S. stocks open sharply lower, with investors anxious about the swine flu and the prospects for the virus outbreak to deepen the recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 78 points to 7,997. The S&P 500 Index shed 9 points to 856. The Nasdaq Composite declined 17 points to 1,677. The swine flu is hitting pork producers, oil, and travel stocks due to fears of a drop off in demand. Tyson Foods and Smithfield are both down over 9%. Biotechs like GlaxoSmithKline are trading higher on the prospects their drugs will combat the swine flu. Glaxo is jumping 5%. Gilead Science is up 4%.The other major news this morning is coming from GM providing another restructuring plan to escape bankruptcy. GM is trading up 24%. The earnings reports keep flooding in. Corning, Qualcomm, Humana, Whirlpool, and Western Union are all higher following earnings this morning. Verizon beat by 4 cents, however, the stock is lower by 2%. The financials opened lower, but recovered in the first hour. The government has run their stress test and met with the top 19 banks, discussing their results. Most believe the 19 largest banks are well capitalized, for now. Following the first hour, the Dow was down only 10 points. The Nasdaq declined 6 points. Through the morning and into the lunch hour, the averages hovered around the unchanged level. More outbreaks of the swine flu sent the major averages lower in the afternoon. Not much of a rebound in the last hour. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 51 points, or 0.6%, at 8,025. The S&P 500 Index shed 8 points, or 1%, to stand at 857 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 14 points, or 0.9%, to 1,679.
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