Opening Bell Report

The markets opened lower as consumer confidence plunged to a 28-year low. The Dow lost 40 points to 12,953 while Nasdaq fell 19 points to 2513.

On the upside

Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP) posted higher 1st quarter profits due to strong performance from the auto parts retailer's new stores.

China Finance Online (Nasdaq: JRJC) raised its 1st quarter guidance as investor subscriptions continued to grow even though the overall Chinese stock market had fallen by a third.

Shares of Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) edged higher after the department store chain posted lower earnings that beat estimates. Some analysts were impressed by the company's efforts to add stores and grow women apparel purchases amid a slowing economy.

On the downside

General Electric (NYSE: GE) announced that its would sell or spin off GE Appliances, its slow-growing 101-year-old appliance business.

China-based General Steel Holdings (NYSE: GSI) posted sharply higher revenues and earnings, but investors worried about dilution due to the company's aggressive acquisition initiatives.

An analyst downgraded SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) due to competition and reduced margins in the Flash memory market.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 5 points to 737.

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