Nasdaq Leads Way Down

Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: SA Eli Hoffmann

The Nasdaq is leading the way down for U.S. indices Wednesday, off more than 2.3% on margin concerns from internet retail giant Amazon, despite estimate-beating net income and revenue (full story). The Dow Jones Industrial Average is off 1.2% (165 points) to 13511, while the S&P 500 index is off 1.44% to 1497.2. Amazon shares continue to tumble, down 16.5% to $84.34, after closing above $100 Tuesday for the first time since 2000. Wall Street investment bank Merrill Lynch is down 5.5% to $63.44 after reporting a worse-than-expected loss due to a $7.9 billion write-down on its mortgage-backed securities and CDOs (full story). Also weighing on the market, existing home sales plunged another 8% in September to a record low 5.04 million/year -- the lowest pace since the NAR began tracking single-family homes and condos jointly in 1999. And shares of Countrywide Financial fell more than 9% to a 4.5-year low after the Wall Street Journal reported that 3.55% of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) originated by the company in 2006 are at least 60-days past due, vs. an industry average of 2.56%.

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