Stock prices skidded again today as Wall Street absorbed more disappointments in high tech, another blockbuster bankruptcy and looming problems at Blockbuster Video.
Shares of Blockbuster plunged more than 30 percent after the nation's largest chain of video stores said its profits are being pinched because more people are deciding they would rather buy movies than rent them.
With competing retailers selling this year's movies on DVD for as little as $9.99, the rental business is hurting at Blockbuster.
Although it may be just a seasonal phenomena, that pattern could signal that the recorded movie business has finally reached the long-predicted point at which sales will become more important than rentals.
The plot is all too familiar at Conseco, the obscure Midwestern financial services company that today became one of the big names in bankruptcy.
Conseco filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law, becoming the third largest company ever to seek court protection in settling its debts. Based on its assets of $56 billion, Conseco ranks right behind Enron and WorldCom in the bankruptcy record books.
The Conseco filing was no surprise, but it was one more bit of bad news for investors who have been swallowing disappointments day after day.
Stocks fell for the fourth day in the past five making it look increasingly unlikely that December will uphold its traditional role as one of the best months in the market.
This morning stock prices started slipping immediately after investors heard disappointing results from Micron Technology Inc., the world's second largest maker of computer memory chips, and ASML Holding, Europe's largest producer of chip-making equipment.
Tech stocks took the day's biggest hits, knocking more than 2 percent off the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index, which closed down 31 points at 1,361.51.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 88 points to 8,447.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index lost almost 12 points, falling to 891.12.