21 Mar 2009

Wall St hurt as Fed plan falls short

9:52 am on 21 March 2009

Stocks in the United States slid on Friday as a plan by the Federal Reserve to rekindle consumer and small business lending fell short of expectations.

Financial shares fell for a second day after investors applied for less than 2.5% of the $US200 billion pledged by the Fed for lending.

American Express was down 6.2% to $US12.26 after a broker warned of more losses and predicted the credit card company's dividend would be cut. Bank of America fell 10.7% to $US6.19.

Shares of GE were also heavily traded, falling 5.8% to $US9.54 after analysts lowered their 2009 profit forecasts for the group.

Chevron fell 3.6% to $US64.71 as oil prices fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 122.42 points, or 1.65%, to 7,278.38.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 15.50 points, or 1.98%, to 768.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 26.21 points, or 1.77%, to 1,457.27.

Trading was heavy on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 2.47 billion shares changing hands - well above last year's estimated daily average of 1.49 billion.

About 2.46 billion were shares traded on the Nasdaq - above last year's daily average of 2.28 billion.