Closing Bell Report

Crude oil prices surged briefly above the $140 a barrel mark after Libya announced a possible cut in oil production. The markets skidded to close sharply lower with the Dow plummeting 358 points to 11,453 while Nasdaq plunged 80 points to 2321.

On the upside

Valence Technology's (Nasdaq: VLNC) auditor PMB Helin Donovan LLP gave the lithium battery maker a "going concern" qualification in its financial report which means that the company can operate indefinitely.

Fourth quarter earnings for America's Car-Mart (Nasdaq: CRMT) surged to surpass estimates by a wide margin as revenue rose.

AspenBio Pharma (Nasdaq: APPY) will begin clinical trials for its AppyScore Human Appendicitis diagnostic test.

On the downside

China Sunergy (Nasdaq: CSUN) priced its offering of convertible notes at a rate of $12.30 per American Depositary Share.

Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) swung to a wider than expected loss for the first quarter and forecast fiscal 2009 results below estimates.

Chemtura (NYSE: CEM) announced that it is no longer seeking to sell itself but will continue exploring other options including the sale of certain units or entering a joint venture.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 4 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 17 points to 700.
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