Many Virginia stocks down

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by Jessica Sabbath

Most stock prices for Virginia companies were down at market close on Monday in the wake of sour economic news.

When markets closed, all but 15 of the state’s 50 largest public companies took hits. Some fared worse that others, and others rebounded from drops earlier in the day.

Sprint Nextel Corp.’s stock closed at $5.66, down 36 cents, or 5.98 percent. AES Corp.’s stock price dropped $1.53 to $16.07, down 8.69 percent. Alpha Natural Resource’s stock price fell 7.55 percent, James River Coal Co. dropped 8.52 percent and Massey Energy Co. fell 6.69 percent.

Freddie Mac regained much of what it had lost after Wall Street’s opening bell.  Stock prices for the mortgage company were down 2.64 percent as market’s closed after having fallen 11 percent earlier in the day.

Likewise, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained back almost all of the 200 points it lost in early trading. It ended the day up 21.16 points, or 0.18 percent. However, the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.6 percent and the S&P 500 lost almost 0.9 percent.

The weekend created a wave of bad economic news. The dollar hit a record low against the euro, world stock markets fell and powerhouse investment bank Bear Stearns was bought for a fraction of its worth, sending ripples of fear through financial markets. 

JPMorgan Chose agreed to buy the company for $236.2 million, or about $2 per share, a fire sale price considering the company’s previous book value of $84 a share.  The Federal Reserve and U.S. government rushed to approve the buyout to avoid a bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve also cut its lending rate to banks to 3.25 percent from 3.5 percent.

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