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Mid-Day Report

The markets treaded lower levels as investors mulled over falling new home sales prices and higher oil prices. The Dow fell nearly 100 points to 12,432 while Nasdaq gave up 16 points to 2324.

On the upside

Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) were among the gainers as crude oil inventories held steady last week.

Shares of Brazilian mining company Vale (NYSE: RIO) rose after talks to acquire a rival ended inconclusively.

Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) was the target of a congressional probe to determine the role of the government in the buyout and the risk to taxpayers.

On the downside

Dow Jones component Citigroup (NYSE: C) lagged along with the rest of the financial services sector. An analyst lowered profit estimates for the banking giant.

Shares of American Express (NYSE: AXP) eased after an analyst pointed out a marked deterioration in credit quality.

BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) partnered with Highfields Capital Management to launch a new company to acquire and restructure distressed mortgages.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 2 to 1on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 3 points to 702.

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