14 Feb 2009

Worry over banks sees slide on Wall StreeT

11:26 am on 14 February 2009

Stocks in the United States fell on Friday due to persistent worries about banks.

The federal government is to announce a plan next week to prop up the housing sector by helping homeowners avoid foreclosures. But doubts linger about how banks will cleanse their books of toxic assets.

The Dow on Friday had its lowest close since 20 November as the government's latest bank rescue plan failed to allay investor worries.

Shares of JPMorgan shed 3.3% to $25.30 on Friday. The KBW Bank index is down 14% for the week.

Boeing climbed 1.6% to $US40.48, while United Technologies, which makes elevators and air conditioners, added 0.4% to $US47.09.

US consumer confidence in February fell to its lowest level in three months.

Shares in Wal-Mart Stores Inc fell 3.3% to $US46.53. Home Depot dropped 3.5% to $21.22.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 82.35 points, or 1.04%, to 7,850.41.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 8.35 points, or 1%, to 826.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 7.35 points, or 0.48%, to 1,534.36.

Volume was light on the New York Stock Exchange, where about 1.24 billion shares changed hands. About 2 billion shares were traded on the Nasdaq.

The market will be closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.