The Dow started was up triple digits in early trading today before plunging to close down 146.32 points at 13211.59. A report of improved consumer confidence and better-than-expected inflation data distracted traders from the ongoing credit earthquake and its tremors in the housing market, but the reentry of foundering American Home Mortgage on the floor woke them up again.
AHM was down 90% after a day-and-a-half hiatus in trading. The powerful lender's continuing collapse brought the S&P down 18.72 to 1455.19, and contributed to a 37.01 slide on the Nasdaq, which closed at 2546.27. Crude was up $1.38 to close at a record $78.21 a barrel, on rumors of a supply cutback and a shooting in Nigeria. (Read more NASDAQ stories.)