Virginia companies fall slightly in wake of Wall Street plunge

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by Jessica Sabbath

Stocks of Virginia’s largest companies fell in the wake of the U.S. stock market’s plunge Tuesday morning, but prices remained volatile throughout the first hour of trading.

At 10:30 a.m., share prices for nine of the state’s 10 largest companies were down from yesterday’s closing prices, with declines ranging from 1.79 percent to 3.6 percent. Company stocks seemed to rebound after the initial shock of the market opening Tuesday morning. Earlier, the stocks of General Dynamics and Dominion Resources had been down almost 5 percent.

The stock market fell immediately after trading on Wall Street began Tuesday amid fears of a recession and after two days of steep drops in global equity markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 400 points to 11,698 within minutes of Wall Street’s opening bell, but regained much of its loss within the first hour. The stock index last fell below 12,000 points in March 2007.

In response to recession fears, the Federal Reserve cut two interest rates this morning during an emergency session held a week before a scheduled meeting. The Fed cut the federal funds rate from 4.25 percent to 3.5 percent and the discount rate from 4.75 percent to 4 percent. The move failed to assuage investors.

Here is how Virginia’s largest companies fared an hour after markets opened:

Sprint Nextel:  $8.43, down 27 cents (3.10 percent)
General Dynamics:  $78.52, down 21 cents (2.8 percent)
Dominion Resources:  $43.04, down $1.24 (2.87 percent)
Circuit City Stores:  $3.86, up 11 cents (2.93 percent)
AES Corp.: $17.82, down 43 cents (2.36 percent)
Smithfield Foods: $24.52, down 51 cents, (2.04 percent)
Genworth Financial: $21.35, down 51 cents (2.33 percent)
Capital One:  $38.57, down $1.11 (2.80 percent)
Norfolk Southern: $44.94, up 79 cents (1.79 percent)
Gannett: $33.04, down 96 cents (2.88 percent)

Robert Powell and Paula Squires contributed to this report.

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