Monday, July 28, 2008

Bank Failures Spook Wall Street

Monday was another in a series of bad days for investors as a pair of bank failures over the weekend rocked the stock market once again, sending the major indices down 2% on average.

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Amidst one of the most serious economic crises in US history, investors of all stripes are losing faith in not only the financial sector, but government leaders and institutions that were supposed to be a safeguard against the kind of wholesale collapse which seems to have overtaken the US economy.

Over the weekend, the FDIC closed two undercapitalized regional banks - First National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank - the sixth and seventh bank failures of 2008. The news was not widely spread until Monday's market open and it hit investors like a ton of bricks.

While the Dow was up briefly in early morning trading, the other indices fell quickly into the red and spent the rest of the day under the flat line and losing ground. Stocks ended at their lows of the day.

Dow 11,131.08 -239.61; NASDAQ 2,264.22 -46.31; S&P 500 1,234.37 -23.39; NYSE Composite 8,260.19 -135.39

Selling was broad-based, with all 10 sectors posting losses. Decliners buried advancing issues by a nearly 3-1 margin, 4611-1660. New lows continued to dominate new highs, 240-71.

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Today's close on the Dow was just 168 points above the recent mid-July bottom of 10,962.54. The other averages are also nearing their recent lows. Volume was very light, but the selling pressure was relentless.

Oil rose $1.47, to $124.73. The metals continued to demonstrate weakness, with gold up a mere 90 cents, to $937.80 and silver off 9 cents, to $17.47 the ounce.

As second quarter earnings continue to roll out, investors are not pleased nor in a mood for any kind of speculation going forward until there is some cataclysmic event or resolution to the housing/credit mess.

NYSE Volume 1,173,196,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,967,769,000

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