Lower Close As Consumer Sentiment Drops

An unexpected drop in consumer sentiment weighed the markets down to a lower close with the Dow slipping 20 points to 13,232. Nasdaq eased a point to 3055.

On the upside

Rumors that billionaire investor Warren Buffet may be interested in purchasing coal stocks lifted shares of Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX).

ReneSola (NYSE: SOL) fell to a loss for the fourth quarter as shipments dropped but the solar products company expects shipments to climb in 2012.

Zacks listed Chemtura (Nasdaq: CHMT) as a #1 Rank after the specialty chemical company surpassed analyst expectations for the fourth quarter in a row.

On the downside

Shares of U. S. Airways (NYSE: LCC) fell after American Airlines said that it may consider merging with another airline after American exits bankruptcy.

Five Star Equities issued a research report on Radian Group (Nasdaq: RDN) saying that analysts expect uncertainty to continue in the property and casualty insurance industry.

Getty Realty (NYSE: GTY) disappointed by falling to a fourth quarter loss even as revenue climbed.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a point to 830.

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