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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire overnight wrap

Tuesday 15th July 2008

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Shares on Wall Street fell on Monday amid persistent worries that the failure of one US regional bank last week was the beginning of a new phase of the credit crisis.

National City Corp., responding to market rumours, said in a statement it was "experiencing no usual depositor or credit activity." But the Midwestern banking institution's stock still plunged 14.71% to $3.77 after the statement.

Shares of other regional banks also plummeted, with Washington Mutual down 34.8% at $3.23, and M&T Bank down 15.6% at $58.82.

The declines pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 Financials Index of 89 companies down 6.1%, its steepest plunge since April 2000.

The S&P 500 slid 11.19 points, or 0.9%, to 1,228.3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 45.35, or 0.4%, to 11,055.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 26.21, or 1.2%, to 2,212.87. More than two stocks dropped for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

After the closing bell, General Motors shares rose as much as 5% on news that chief executive Rick Wagoner will announce on Tuesday morning the automaker's second restructuring package in six weeks.

In the regular session, the Dow's drop was cushioned by the performance of defensive stocks. McDonald's shares rose 1.3% to $58.09, while Coca-Cola gained 1.4% to $50.96 on the New York Stock Exchange.

iPhone Bonanza

Apple Inc. rallied $1.30 to $173.88. The company sold one million iPhones in the first three days following the new model's debut. Piper Jaffray & Co analyst Gene Munster estimated sales of 425,000 devices in the first three days.

“iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend,” chief executive Steve Jobs said in a statement, after starting sales of the device in 21 countries on July 11. It took 74 days to sell a million of the original iPhone, which was only available in the US at first, he said.

Carl Icahn blasted Yahoo Inc. on Monday for rejecting his joint proposal with Microsoft Corp, saying management was more focused on who would run the internet company than on the details of the offer.

Shares of Yahoo fell 4.2% to $22.57 and Microsoft shares dipped 0.4% to $25.15, both on the Nasdaq.

US crude settled up 10 cents to $145.18 a barrel, after hitting a record above $147 in intraday activity on Friday. London Brent crude settled 57 cents lower at $143.92 a barrel.

Support came as oil workers at Brazil's Petrobras launched a five-day strike that cut output by 136,000 barrels per day (bpd), about 7% of its production.

The dollar increased 0.2% to $1.5909 per euro at 4:20pm in New York, from $1.5938 on July 11. It dropped last week to within a cent of the record low of $1.6019 reached April 22. The US currency fell 0.1% to 106.18 yen, from 106.28 late last week. The euro fell 0.4% to 168.88 yen, from 169.46, after touching 169.75, the strongest level since the 15-nation currency debuted in 1999.

Australia's dollar rose as much as 0.8% to the 25-year high of 97.36 US cents on speculation the domestic economy will withstand losses among US financial institutions.

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