Awful day on Wall Street

You can't keep hitting new highs forever. The Dow finished the day down 119 points - and as often happens with these big drops, the news wasn't great, but it wasn't especially terrible. The drug makers took in on the chin, as did Ford. And Microsoft, reporting after the market closed, had a 28 percent earnings drop. Home sales fell in December, a mild surprise but hardly earthshaking considering what the housing market was like in 2006. Anyway, many L.A.-area companies had down days, including Occidental Petroleum, which fell 1.7 percent on news that fourth quarter profit declined 19 percent from a year earlier. Here's a sampling of the other local losers:

•Activision -5.5%
•Big 5 Sporting Goods -4.1%
•CB Richard Ellis -4.7%
•Countrywide -3.9%
•Hilton -3.4%
•IndyMac -7.3%
•Ryland -4.2%
•THQ -6.1%

Today's exception was 21st Century Insurance, which jumped 26.2 percent, to just under $21, on word that AIG wanted to buy the remaining shares in the Woodland Hills-based insurer that it doesn't already own for $19.75 a share. The higher closing price suggests that traders might be expecting a higher bid.

More by Mark Lacter:
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Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
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Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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