The bailout of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan and the Federal Reserve sparked fears that more bailouts will be necessary to stabilize the credit markets. The Dow skidded 195 points to 11,951 while Nasdaq plummeted 51 points to 2212.
On the upside
A tax benefit along higher sales lifted fourth quarter earnings for SkillSoft (Nasdaq: SKIL) to surpass estimates.
Jefferies & Co. analyst David Windley upgraded WuXi Pharma Tech (NYSE: WX) after the company reported fourth quarter earnings that more than tripled.
Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL) said that its acquistion of Greens Creek silver mine in Alaska will double its production of silver to 11 million ounces per year.
On the downside
While Ultrapetrol (Nasdaq: ULTR) reversed year ago losses to report a profit for the fourth quarter, the company's 2007 full year profit fell from last year.
Moody's Investors Service downgraded Washington Mutual's (NYSE: WM) credit rating saying that the company will need more than $12 billion to cover mortgage losses in 2008.
National City's (NYSE: NCC) credit rating was downgraded by Moody's Investors Services because the bank may suffer significant losses in its home equity, residential development and land loan portfolios.
In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 17 points to 663.