After two straight days of gains and a steady morning the Dow plummeted in a selloff late this afternoon, losing 2% of its value to close at 13179.71, down 283.62. Bear Stearns lost big after Standard and Poors downgraded the subprime-laden i-bank from "stable" to "negative," stirring more worries over the deeply troubled credit market. Financial stocks followed expeditiously: Lehman brothers lost almost 8%.
The Nasdaq was off 64.73 to 2511.25 and the S&P fell 39.144 to close at 1433.06—a loss of more than 2.5% for both indexes. A report that job growth sank this quarter also hit the floor hard, as traders continue to worry that shrinking consumer confidence will conspire with the housing slump to curb spending.