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Wall Street plunge sweeps up bay area stocks

The latest tsunami that ripped through Wall Street on Monday left its mark on the Tampa Bay area's roster of public companies.

As the major indexes all lost more than 7 percent and the Dow dived 680 points, many local companies posted double-digit percentage losses, erasing much of the gain from last week's rally. Walter Industries fell 25 percent to $13.77; troubled boat seller MarineMax slumped 15 percent to $2.36; and home shopping's HSN Inc. dropped 24 percent to $2.84.

Among the hardest-hit locals was St. Petersburg financial services firm Raymond James Financial, whose stock fell 23 percent, or $5.05 per share, after it triggered some concerns about its capital in its year-end earnings report.

Raymond James indicated it could not repurchase hard-to-trade auction-rate securities from customers because it would not meet regulatory capital standards or it does not have enough borrowing capacity. And even if it proceeded with the repurchases, there could be a market loss that "could adversely affect the results of operations," the company said in a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A Wachovia Securities analyst said the report reinforced his analysis that Raymond James' shares were overvalued.

Other financial companies active locally were also severely battered. Bank of America fell 21 percent, SunTrust dropped 21 percent and Wells Fargo, which is buying Wachovia, landed down 19 percent.

JPMorgan Chase, whose stock fell 17.5 percent, revealed details of deep cuts planned within Washington Mutual, which it acquired Sept. 25 after WaMu failed. JPMorgan Chase said it will lay off 9,200 Washington Mutual employees out of the company's total workforce of about 42,000. About 3,400 of the cuts are in Seattle.

WaMu's branch employees are not affected by the layoffs.

Wall Street plunge sweeps up bay area stocks 12/01/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 11:15pm]
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