Stocks plunged today as financials dragged down the markets. Countrywide reeled despite releasing statements denying it was preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. "You can't really have a healthy market without healthy financials," a trader told the Wall Street Journal. The Dow was down 238.42 to 12,589.07, the Nasdaq 58.95 to 2,440.51, and the S&P 500 25.99 to 1,390.19.
Citigroup nosedived after a pessimistic report from Merrill Lynch, Bloomberg reports. Analysts predict a 60% slide in fourth-quarter profits for financials, but they do foresee some bright spots mixed in. "When it's all said and done, I think we'll see that some of them did better than expected in the fourth quarter, some worse," says one researcher.