Stocks stumbled on Wednesday after crude oil prices shot up to another new high and General Motors Corp. warned its 2005 earnings will be as much as 80 percent below its previous forecast.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 112.03 points, or 1 percent, to finish 10,633.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 9.68 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,188.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 19.23 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,015.75.
Oil prices started the day lower after OPEC ministers said they would increase output, but the price of crude jumped $1.41 to close at $56.46 a barrel in New York, a new high, after the U.S. Department of Energy released data showing domestic supplies of gasoline and heating oil fell sharply last week.
And before the opening bell, GM, the world's largest automaker, said it would post a first-quarter loss of about $1.50 per share, compared with its previous forecast of breakeven or better. The drop in GM weighed on the broader market.
Among local companies, shares of Guitar Center Inc. fell 9.5 percent to $54.10 after the Westlake Village-based music retail chain operator canceled a meeting today with investors, leading to speculation that it's planning to announce another acquisition. Guitar Center agreed last month to buy closely held Music & Arts Center, a musical instrument retailer, for about $90 million.
Two local banks also saw their share prices fall after delaying the filing of their annual 10-K reports.
Center Financial Corp. shares fell 2.6 percent to $19.86 after the L.A.-based bank holding company said in an SEC filing that it would be late filing its annual report citing a diversion of accounting resources to meet the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Section 404 requires companies to verify the effectiveness of their internal financial controls. Center Financial said it anticipates filing the annual report on or before March 31.
Also, Los Angeles-based Cathay General Bancorp shares fell 1.4 percent to $32.54 after it also delayed filing its 10-K, also citing Section 404. Cathay said compliance with Section 404 has taken longer than management expected.
And Salem Communications Corp. gained 0.4 percent to close at $21.50 after the Camarillo-based Christian radio broadcaster named Joe D. Davis its executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective immediately. Davis has been executive vice president of radio for the company since 2003. With the addition of the title of chief operating officer, a position that has been vacant for the past few years, Davis will oversee all of Salem Communications' businesses.
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