Bad economic news squashes stocks

Investors dumped stocks today after a weak retail sales report and lower-than-expected producer price index data showing no inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 140 points, or 1.7 percent, to close at 7,918.

Citigroup (C) gained more than any of the Dow's 30 other components, climbing 5.5 percent. Citi apparently benefited from investor optimism after positive earnings news from Goldman Sachs (GS) and Wells Fargo (WFC), though other bank stocks fell. In fact, American Express (AXP) fell 9.9 percent, making it the DJIA's biggest loser.

Among the stocks making news today:

Chevron (CVX) traded off after the oil giant was downgraded in a broad oil sector downgrade along with other integrated oil majors like Exxon, Conoco, and BP at Oppenheimer; shares were cut to "Perform" from "Outperform." Shares were down almost 2% at $66.64 very late in the day.

Dendreon (DNDN) was today's huge winner. The biotech firm said that its big PROVENGE trial for advanced prostate cancer met the targeted endpoints and more data would be shown on April 28. Shares were up some 135% at $17.27 before the close.

Fannie Mae (FNM) rose today on word that President Obama was naming Fannie's CEO Herb Allison to head up the $700 billion TARP program. Shares were up almost 7% at the end of the day on the belief that this means Obama doesn't want to shut down Fannie Mae.

Goldman Sachs (GS) traded lower despite nearly doubling the expected performance on its estimates. The reason for the drop was because the company sold some $5 billion in a secondary offering at $23.00 per share to help pay back its TARP obligations. Shares were off almost 10% at $118.02 late in the day.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) beat its earnings expectations at $1.26 EPS vs. $1.22 estimates. The company's revenues were light, but there was a 7% impact or so drop due to currencies impacting results versus the US Dollar. It also did not raise or give any new guidance changes. Shares were up only 0.3% at $51.32 late in the day.
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