Most regional stocks closed lower Thursday, moving in step with the direction on Wall Street. The regional losers included Waddell & Reed, down 1.6 percent, Kansas City Southern, down 2.4 percent, Compass Minerals, down 1.3 percent, and Garmin, down 1 percent. The handful of winners were led by Inergy, up 2.9 percent, YRC, up 1.5 percent, and Sprint, up .5 percent. Overall, stocks closed lower on Wall Street Thursday after Oracles weak sales results weighed down big U.S. technology companies. Traders also worried about Cyprus running out of time to avoid bankruptcy. Major indexes followed European markets lower at the open and remained solidly negative all day. The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 129 points by mid-afternoon before paring the loss to close down 90 points. All three major indexes felt the drag from technology stocks after Oracle reported an unexpected decline in sales in its fiscal third quarter. Oracles results have an outsized impact on other technology stocks because it reports earlier than most of its peers. European markets had closed sharply lower. The main indexes in Paris and Frankfurt fell 1.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, on fear that the crisis in Cyprus will intensify. The European Central Bank has threatened to end emergency support of the nations banks next week unless leaders can secure more funding. Cyprus must raise about $7.5 billion in the next four days to avoid bankruptcy. Several plans have failed, including a proposal to tax deposits held by the nations banks. If the Mediterranean banking haven is unable to secure a bailout, its banks will fail and it could be forced to leave the euro currency. Worries about that scenario first hit stock markets Monday. Its amazing how quickly things can turn back to Cyprus and Europe, said Oliver Cross, director of research with Carolinas Investment Consulting LLC in Charlotte, N.C. Cross spent his day focused on headlines from Europe, rather than digesting happier news about hiring and home sales in the U.S. Oracle was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 index; Juniper Networks also fell steeply. The S&P 500 closed down 12.91 points, or 0.8 percent, at 1,545.80. The Dow dropped 90.24 points, or 0.6 percent, to 14,421.49. Cisco was the Dows biggest loser, followed by H-P. IBM also lost ground. The Nasdaq, which is weighted heavily toward tech stocks, fell a full percentage point. It closed down 31.59 points at 3,222.60. The BATS 1000 fell 151.17 points, or 0.86 percent, to close at 17,493.58.
By STEVE ROSEN
The Kansas City Star
Regional stocks Capitol Federal Financial rose 3 cents, or 0.25%, to close at $11.96. Cerner Corp. fell 82 cents, or 0.90%, to close at $90.57. Commerce Bancshares Inc. fell 16 cents, or 0.39%, to close at $40.06. Compass Minerals fell 99 cents, or 1.27%, to close at $77.20. DST Systems Inc. fell 53 cents, or 0.76%, to close at $69.33. Ferrellgas Partners L.P. rose 26 cents, or 1.35%, to close at $19.48. Garmin Ltd. fell 32 cents, or 0.95%, to close at $33.15. Great Plains Energy fell 22 cents, or 0.96%, to close at $22.77. H&R Block Inc. rose 7 cents, or 0.25%, to close at $27.90. Inergy L.P. rose 59 cents, or 2.92%, to close at $20.77. Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 17 cents, or 0.44%, to close at $38.79. Kansas City Southern fell $2.39, or 2.19%, to close at $106.59. Layne Christensen Co. fell 14 cents, or 0.63%, to close at $21.97. OReilly Automotive Inc. fell 72 cents, or 0.70%, to close at $102.77. Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 3 cents, or 0.50%, to close at $6.06. UMB Financial Corp. fell 21 cents, or 0.43%, to close at $48.13. Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. fell 68 cents, or 1.56%, to close at $42.85. YRC Worldwide Inc. rose 13 cents, or 1.53%, to close at $8.62.