Dow -214.60 (-1.75%)
Nasdaq -52.31 (-2.30%)
S&P 500 -29.36 (-2.20%)
News That Moved the Market
More Financial Woes Hit Stocks. The markets opened down and never were able to recover after numerous companies in the financial sector came out with bad news. Thornburg Mortgage (TMA, -51.5%) plummeted after its ratings were downgraded by the main ratings agencies. The company disclosed it was not able to meet a margin call of $28 million, triggering defaults in other lending agreements. Washington Mutual (WM, -8.1%) fell following S&P's downgrade of the company, citing a "severe residential mortgage credit cycle" as the catalyst for decision. WaMu was placed on CreditWatch with negative implications. Major indices finished near their lows, with the Dow closing just above 12,000. Whether it holds it tomorrow will be an important mental threshold for investors.
Foreclosures Spike. U.S. mortgage foreclosures hit all-time high at the end of last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. New foreclosures increased to 0.83% of all home loans last quarter, with late payment jumping to a 23-year high.
Retail Sales Better Than Expected. Wal-Mart (WMT, +0.86%) reported higher than expected February sales, as more consumers turned to the low cost retailer. U.S. retailers' same store sales increased by 1.9%, beating estimates. About 60% of retailers reported higher than anticipated sales.
Notable Earnings (Full List Here):
8:30 AM: Jobs Report
3:00 PM: Consumer Credit