Oil, GM Slam Stocks Again

Record high oil prices and comments from Merrill Lynch that bankruptcy is a possibility for GM (NYSE: GM) sent stocks plunging once again on Wednesday.

The day’s trading officially sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average into bear market territory, down more than 20% off its October all-time high.

And investors may have more to worry about on Thursday, when the European Central Bank may raise interest rates to fight inflation and the U.S. Labor Department will report on June employment. After ADP reported a 79,000 loss today in private sector jobs for the month, the picture may not be pretty.

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) was a rare bright spot, up 3.4% on reports that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) may make another bid for the company.

Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) rose 2.3% on reports that Michael Dell purchased 4.5 million shares of the company’s stock.

SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) and Micron (NYSE: MU) gained on bullish analyst comments.

UTStarcom (NASDAQ: UTSI) lost 18% a day after selling its handset business.

Circuit City (NYSE: CC) fell 9% after Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) dropped plans to buy the company.

The Nasdaq fell 53 to 2251, the S&P tumbled 23 to 1261, and the Dow lost 166 to 11,215. Volume declined to 5.23 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.44 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 25-9 margin on the NYSE, and 21-7 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 83% on the NYSE, and 79% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 67-412 on the NYSE, and 39-405 on the Nasdaq.

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