Although consumer confidence reached a six-year high on the last day of our trading session ended July 31, 2007, that news meant little to investors as Wall Street sent the stock market sharply south on worries that the meltdown in the subprime lending sector will lead to tight credit across all markets. Although stocks attempted to rally, those efforts were wiped out after mortgage lender American Home said it may become insolvent. “That’s the big news that’s hitting the markets today,” said Sam Rahman, Portfolio Manager at Baring Asset Management Inc. “It is raising concerns about the whole mortgage market because American Home really didn’t do anything in subprime. The fact that they’re having problems trying to unload some of their debt means that the subprime issue is larger than feared,” Rahman said.

Those fears edged into the PCI Manufacturers’ Index, cutting into it by 11 points, or 0.79 percent, to end at 1388.88. Despite the loss, advancing issues edged past declining issues by a 5-to-4 count. Imperial Chemical Industries-ICI-ceased trading on the NYSE, moved to the Pink Sheets and was removed from the index.

BASF also announced that it will delist from the New York Exchange by September. “Our decision to delist from the New York Stock Exchange underlines BASF’s continuous efforts to reduce complexity and costs,” said BASF CEO Juergen Hambrecht. BASF also said a potential buyer has approached the company about its polystyrene division. The interested party’s name was not released nor were financial terms disclosed. BASF increased 5.75 points, or 4.65 percent, and was the top dollar gainer this session. BASF closed at 129.45.

Despite a drop in second quarter net income, shares in Rohm & Haas rose 3.51 points, or 6.62 percent. The company reported net income of $160 million, or $0.74 per share, versus net income of $166 million, or $0.75 per share earned in last year’s second quarter. Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had been expecting earnings of $0.76 per share. Rohm & Haas cited the weak U.S. housing market. Earlier in the session, however, the company gained after it announced a $2 billion stock buyback to begin in the third quarter. On the strength of that decision, Citigroup upped its rating in Rohm & Haas to “buy” from “neutral.” ROH closed at 56.52, and was the top percentage gainer.

DuPont shed 5.59 points, or 10.68 percent this session after the company reported earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations. DuPont announced second quarter net income of $972 million, down from $975 million earned in the year-ago quarter. Earnings per share remained flat at $1.04 per share. Sales were up slightly, to $7.88 billion, from $7.44 billion last year. DuPont closed at 46.73, and was the top dollar and percentage loser.