Closing Bell Report

The markets plummeted to close sharply lower on the first trading day of 2008 as crude oil prices briefly surged to a record $100 a barrel while the manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in nearly a year. The Dow plunged 221 points to 13,044 while Nasdaq skidded 43 points to 2610.

On the upside

Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield upgraded Mediacom Communications (Nasdaq: MCCC) saying that heavy subscriber losses are behind the company.

A rally in the gold sector lifted shares of Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX).

Rising gold prices sent shares of Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) soaring.

On the downside

Shares of U. S. Airways Group (NYSE: LCC) tumbled as crude oil prices touched $100 a barrel for the first time.

An analyst downgraded LSI (NYSE: LSI) saying that chip supplies are high.

Concerns about a slowing economy weighed down shares of grocery chain Supervalu (NYSE: SVU).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 12 points to 754.

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