Financial stocks lead US markets lower

Business Materials 15 April 2008 04:29 (UTC +04:00)

Stocks were pushed down by financial shares on Wall Street on Monday after Wachovia Corp reported unexpected losses and said it was seeking a 7-billion-dollar cash infusion from stock sales. ( dpa )

"The news out of Wachovia would suggest the environment has probably deteriorated faster in recent weeks, to a greater extent than people may have anticipated," Jonathan Armitage, of Schroders Plc in New York told Bloomberg financial news.

Wachovia's first quarter losses were 393 million dollars compared with earnings of 2.3 billion dollars in the same period last year, the fourth-largest US bank said in a statement.

Its shares fell 2.26 dollars, or 8.1 percent, to 25.55 dollars per share. Citigroup also fell, dropping 85 cents to 22.51 dollars, after Merrill Lynch analysts predicted the bank's profits will be hurt by a weakening consumer financial market and slowdown in capital markets.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 23.36 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 12,302.06. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 4.51 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,328.32, and the technology- heavy Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 14.42 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 2,275.82.

The US currency traded at 63.15 euro cents and 101.10 Japanese yen.

Gold lost 1.30 dollars to 927.40 per fine ounce.