U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Thursday, with concerns about the economy and the ailing financial and auto sectors leading the market to fresh five-year lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 160 points, or 2%, to 7,837. The S&P 500 index fell 19 points to 787, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 23 points to 1,363. The Saudi Prince Alaweed said it would raise his stake in Citigroup back to 5% because he has confidence in the bank and managment, but no one else does. The stock is down 14% to new lows. Most of the financials are making new lows. It's a full scale meltdown. Another Dow component, GM is down 19% as investors debate whether the company will survive. A couple of earnings reports from Barnes & Noble, Gamestop, and Dicks. Only Dicks Sporting Goods is higher for now. After the first half an hour the averages pushed to new lows for the year with the Dow falling below 7800. The averages are closing in on the 2002 lows following the tech bubble and 9/11. After the first hour the averages tried to rebound. The Nasdaq was still down 25 points even though the big blue chip techs are holding in there. At 11 o'clock, the averages had recovered all the loses. The financials remain weak, but off the lows. The commodities remain weak. During the lunch hour, rumors surfaced that the Senate has come to an agreement to aid the automakers. Whether it's true to not, the averages rallied on that news including GM and Ford. The Dow rose as much as 185 points before pulling back. The averages were back in the red within half an hour. Volatile market. The averages moved lower through the afternoon as it turned out the rumor was wrong regarding the automakers. GM and Ford are still in the green, but the financials are heading back down. Local bank, M&T Bank received approval for TARP money which sent the stock up $4 and then right back down. The commodities remain weak. Entering the last hour, the Dow was down 100 points. The Nasdaq declined 21 points. In the last hour, the floor was pulled from under the market. We're heading toward capitulation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 444 points, or 5.6%, to end at 7,552. The S&P 500 index fell 54 points, or 6.7%, to 752, after breaking through its 2002 bear-market closing low of 776 to close at its lowest level in more than 11 years. The Nasdaq Composite lost 70 points, or 5%, to end at 1,316.
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