NEW YORK Aug 10 Small- and mid-capitalization stocks dropped sharply on Wednesday, with financials dragged down along with big-cap banking shares.
Worries the European debt crisis could include French banks and also hit the U.S. financial sector caused widespread losses in financial shares on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the small- and mid-cap U.S. market, shares of Associated Banc-Corp ASBC.O dropped 10.7 percent to $10.59 while shares of Pacwest Bancorp (PACW.O) fell 10.5 percent to $15.30. Shares of Webster Financial (WBS.N) declined 9.5 percent to $15.50.
Shares of Fulton Financial (FULT.O) dropped 9.4 percent to $8.01.
Overseas, Societe Generale (SCGLY.PK) (SOGN.PA) denied a series of rumors related to its financial health which, along with speculation France's debt rating was in danger, caused its shares to plummet. For details, see [ID:nWEA0019]
Among the day's other big decliners, shares of Manpower Group (MAN.N) fell 5 percent to $38.93 after rival staffing company, Adecco ADEB.VX said it suffered a margin squeeze in the first half of 2011 as firms postponed new IT projects, particularly in the United States. For details, see [ID:nL6E7JA021]
For the day, the S&P MidCap 400 index .MID was down 3.4 percent while the S&P SmallCap 600 index .SML was down 4.9 percent. In comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX was down 4.4 percent.
Stocks have notched steep losses in the last couple of weeks, hit by concerns over the debt-ceiling debate in Washington, fears of another recession in the United States and a downgrade of the U.S.'s credit rating by Standard & Poor's.
The small-cap index is down 20.4 percent since the July 22 close while the mid-cap index is down 19.6 percent since then.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Andrew Hay)