Closing Bell Report

The markets plummeted to close sharply lower over stagnant growth and disappointing earnings. The Dow skidded 316 points to 12,266 while Nasdaq plunged 60 points to 2271.

On the upside

An increased subscriber base lifted fourth quarter earnings for China Finance Online (Nasdaq: JRJC) prompting the online financial data company to raise its 2008 outlook.

Sapient (Nasdaq: SAPE) swung to a profit for the fourth quarter to beat estimates while forecasting 2008 results above expectations.

Higher sales boosted fourth quarter earnings for FTI Consulting (NYSE: FCN) to beat expectations.

On the downside

Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) announced that a jury awarded the company $45.5 million in damages in a patent infringement cast against Limelight (Nasdaq: LLNW).

While China Medical Technologies (Nasdaq: CMED) reported higher third quarter earnings, revenue fell short of estimates.

Analysts downgraded MF Global (NYSE: MF) after the company disclosed a loss of $142 million through unauthorized trades.

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of nearly 7 to 1 on the NYSE and more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 20 points to 686.

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