Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating of France to weigh the markets down to a lower close with the Dow falling 48 points to 12,422. Nasdaq lost 14 points to 2710.
On the upside
Idenix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: IDIX) engaged in discussions to identify a partner to jointly develop a drug cocktail to treat hepatitis C.
Bloomberg News reported that BankUnited (NYSE: BKU) retained the services of Goldman Sachs to explore the possible sale of the company.
China Ming Yang Wind Power Group (NYSE: MY) successfully hosted its 2012 Ming Yang Wind Power Strategy Supply Chain Conference with more than 276 suppliers in attendance.
On the downside
A 21% drop in December video game hardware and software sales weighed down shares of Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA).
Two Tesla Motor (Nasdaq: TSLA) executives who worked on the Model S luxury sedan left the electric car company this month.
Raymond James downgraded JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO) to an Underperform rating.
In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 6 points to 764.