Stocks plunged again today as another wave of poor earning reports soured investor sentiment, the Wall Street Journal reports. Henry Paulson's announcement of yet another new direction for the federal bailout failed to inspire confidence as the Dow closed down 411.30 points at 8,283. The Nasdaq lost 81.69 points to close at 1,499, while the S&P 500 lost 46.65 points to settle at 852.
Recent bad news from Best Buy, Macy’s, Starbucks, and Circuit City all demonstrate the troubles of operating a consumer-dependent business in the current climate. But some of the stock market’s recent declines may be driven by another factor, notes one market researcher: forced stock sales by hedge funds compelled to raise cash to fill redemption requests by clients.