RealTime IT News

Stocks Plummet as Credit Fears Mount

News that French bank BNP Paribas was hit by the U.S. subprime mortgage market meltdown raised fears of a global financial crisis and sent stocks plummeting on Thursday.

European and U.S. central banks responded by injecting liquidity into the global banking system, which only exacerbated fears that the crisis will continue to spread. By the end of the day, U.S. traders placed the chances of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve next month at 80%, despite the Fed's insistence earlier this week that it remains more concerned about inflation.

Cisco Systems was up most of the day, still riding Tuesday's stellar results, but even its shares ended the day down slightly.

Apple was perhaps the biggest loser among big-name tech stocks, falling 5.7%.

SRA , Systemax , Vonage and The Knot gained on their earnings reports, but InfoSpace , Limelight Networks , Airspan , Brightpoint and Jupitermedia , publisher of this Web site, fell on their results.

KLA-Tencor edged higher after hiking its dividend and announcing a share buyback plan.

The Nasdaq fell 56 to 2556, the S&P 500 plunged 44 to 1453, and the Dow tumbled 387 to 13,270. Volume rose to 5.87 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 3.61 billion on the Nasdaq. Declining issues led by a 25-7 margin on the NYSE, and 20-10 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 85% on the NYSE, and 75% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 84-329 on the NYSE, and 113-277 on the Nasdaq.