Closing Bell Report

An unexpected contraction in the service sector stoked recessionary fears sending the markets skidding to close sharply lower with the Dow plummeting 370 points to 12,265. Nasdaq plunged 73 points to 2310.

On the upside

Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN) forecast first quarter as well as full year results above expectations prompting an upgrade.

Higher sales lifted fourth quarter earnings for Corn Products International (NYSE: CPO) to beat expectations.

Fourth quarter earnings for Owens & Minor (NYSE: OMI) more than doubled to beat expectations as expenses decreased.

On the downside

Shares of Synchronoss Technologies (Nasdaq: SNCR) fell despite reporting sharply higher fourth quarter earnings.

J. P. Morgan analyst Charles Grom downgraded Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) saying that same store sales will continue to be weak due to the economic downturn.

Despite posting fourth quarter earnings that more than tripled, shares of NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX) tumbled over the delay of some cost cutting measures.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly the same on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 22 points to 702.

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