Dow Plummets 306.95 Points
Manufacturing, home starts news send markets way down
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2008 3:42 PM CST
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Stocks fell Wednesday after Intel Corp. announced disappointing earnings and issued a lackluster forecast that raised...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Dow plunged 306.95 points to 12.159.21 today, its third straight sell-off and worst loss of the new year, as rough numbers put investors in a bearish mood. The key index has now fallen more than 1,000 points since 2008 began. Merrill Lynch posted a huge quarterly loss, manufacturing slowed, and housing starts came in at their lowest level since 1991.

The Nasdaq fell 47.69 to 2,346.90, while the S&P closed at 1,333.25, down 39.95, MarketWatch reports. Ben Bernanke’s public support of a stimulus plan served as a reminder of troubled times and sent markets downward, analysts said. Bond insurer Ambac Financial plummeted 53.6% today on news of a Moody’s review, while AIG fell 6.0%, and Merck dropped 5.9%.