Mid-Day Report

Plunging consumer confidence and a weak manufacturing report sent the markets tumbling during the midday with the Dow dropping 73 points to 12,304. Nasdaq fell 21 points to 2312.

On the upside

American Medical Systems (Nasdaq: AMMD) blamed a legal charge for swinging to a fourth quarter loss but the medical device maker forecast 2008 results above estimates.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) conference call may have misled investors about the risks of two hedge funds that collapsed.

Warren Buffett became the largest shareholder of Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) when Berkshire Hathaway purchased an 8.6% stake in the foodmaker.

On the downside

Fourth quarter earnings for Arris Group (Nasdaq: ARRS) plunged due to a larger tax bill. The communications technology company also forecast first quarter results well below estimates

Nasdaq will delist Aspen Technology (Nasdaq: AZPN) after the company missed several filing deadlines.

Although Massey Energy's (NYSE: MEE) subsidiary New River denies that its drilling operation caused a flood in Delbarton, the company is paying for the cleanup.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 8 points to 697.

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