Stocks give back some of yesterday's massive gains

Stocks gave up some of yesterday's massive gains, falling sharply in afternoon trading after coming close to breaking even. Bank stocks were particularly hard hit as 27 of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's 30 stocks fell.

Confusing housing data caused another brief hope because of an uptick in prices from December to January, but that was following a downward revision. The Geithner-Bernanke testimony to Congress today did very little for the markets, as the Dow fell 115 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 7,660.

Some of today's noteworthy stocks:

Allergan (AGN) is the next takeover target if the rumormill has any truth to it. There is roughly $150 billion in new equity investor capital that can be put to work in this space, so investors are eagerly looking for the next target, if they can find it. The problem is that a premium could be elusive based upon P/E analysis.

American International Group (AIG) was the focus of Congress today as Geithner and Bernanke today. The summary is that the worst of the systematic-risk seems over, but the Treasury wants powers to successfully and orderly wind down firms that get the size of AIG. The only shock is that sellers did not hit AIG harder. AIG shares were down almost 5% at $1.41 shortly before the close.

Dow Chemical (DOW) was sort of a dud. There were reports that Saudi Aramco plans to spend billions on a petrochemical partnership which Dow is a partner in. Shares were up 1% at $8.73 shortly before the close.

Goldman Sachs (GS) failed to continue a rally on more details that it is in talks to possibly sell its 4.9% stake in ICBC in China in a move which could raise $1 billion or more. This would get the TARP regulation off its back if it pays that off. Shares were down almost 1% at $111.04.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) was up 16% at $3.09 before the close. Reports that it is about to buy back $800 million in debt to help its liquidity sent shares surging.
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