Another Day, Another Stock Market Plunge

Stocks plunged once again Wednesday on the twin fears of rising inflation and stagnant economic growth.

Another spike in oil prices, more tough talk on inflation from the Federal Reserve, another round of credit market fears, and a weak Fed report on economic conditions sent stocks to multi-month lows.

Tech stocks were hit after the Semiconductor Industry Association lowered its 2008 semiconductor sales growth forecast, citing memory pricing pressures. The chip sector lost nearly 3% on the day, and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) shed 3.8%. Micron (NYSE: MU) and AMD (NYSE: AMD) lost 6% each.

Nortel (NYSE: NT) was a rare bright spot, surging 13% on an upbeat outlook and next-generation technology development efforts.

Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) added 2% on an industry report showing strong demand for its high-end storage switches.

Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC) tumbled 12% on its financial outlook.

Investors will have plenty of data to gauge the health of the economy with in the next two days, with retail sales tomorrow morning and consumer inflation data on Friday. Next week will see earnings reports from major Wall Street investment banks.

The Nasdaq plunged 55 to 2394, the S&P lost 23 to 1335, and the Dow fell 206 to 12,083. Volume rose to 4.75 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.12 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 27-6 margin on the NYSE, and 22-6 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 84% on the NYSE, and 88% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 38-262 on the NYSE, and 34-233 on the Nasdaq.

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