Disappointing growth in the fourth quarter weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow plummeting 143 points to 12,551. Nasdaq plunged 27 points to 2327.
On the upside
Second quarter earnings for Dress Barn (Nasdaq: DBRN) plunged due to markdowns but the results beat expectations and the women's apparel retailer affirmed its 2008 guidance.
An increase in subscribers and higher revenue per subscriber helped Leap Wireless International (Nasdaq: LEAP) narrow fourth quarter losses.
Falling natural gas inventories along with cold weather in the Northeast boosted shares of EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG).
On the downside
Origin Argritech (Nasdaq: SEED) blamed a sharp drop in prices for swinging to a loss for 2007.
PharmaNet Development Group (Nasdaq: PDGI) swung to a fourth quarter profit as revenue rose but the drug development services company's 2008 outlook fell short of estimates.
While R. H. Donnelley (NYSE: RHD) narrowed fourth quarter losses, the results missed estimates and the print and online directories distributor forecast disappointing 2008 results.
In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 11 points to 705.