US stocks slide as investors pull back

March 21st, 2009 - 7:36 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 21 (DPA) US stocks seesawed through most of Friday, with markets closing at their lowest in two weeks after analysts slashed earnings estimates for General Electric Co.While GE dropped 5.8 percent, financial shares tumbled Friday, with Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase among the losers.

Troubled insurer American International Group Inc dropped 22 percent as several states began probing its bonuses.

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke Friday remained optimistic about the market’s responses to a series of crisis measures undertaken by the central bank to stem the financial crisis.

“So far, we have generally been encouraged by the market responses, including the decline in mortgage interest rates,” Bernanke said in speech to community bankers in Phoenix, Arizona.

On Wednesday, the Fed, in one of its most aggressive efforts yet to keep the country’s financial sector afloat, announced it would buy up more than $1 trillion in government bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 122.42 points, or 1.65 percent, to 7,278.38. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 15.50 points, or 1.98 percent, to 768.54. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 26.21 points, or 1.77 percent, to 1,457.27.

The US currency against against the euro to 73.63 euro cents from 73.17 euro cents Thursday, and the dollar climbed to 95.92 Japanese yen from 94.53 yen.

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