S&P Downgrades France, Markets Close Lower

Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating of France to weigh the markets down to a lower close with the Dow falling 48 points to 12,422. Nasdaq lost 14 points to 2710.

On the upside

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: IDIX) engaged in discussions to identify a partner to jointly develop a drug cocktail to treat hepatitis C.

Bloomberg News reported that BankUnited (NYSE: BKU) retained the services of Goldman Sachs to explore the possible sale of the company.

China Ming Yang Wind Power Group (NYSE: MY) successfully hosted its 2012 Ming Yang Wind Power Strategy Supply Chain Conference with more than 276 suppliers in attendance.

On the downside

A 21% drop in December video game hardware and software sales weighed down shares of Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA).

Two Tesla Motor (Nasdaq: TSLA) executives who worked on the Model S luxury sedan left the electric car company this month.

Raymond James downgraded JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO) to an Underperform rating.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 6 points to 764.

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