U.S. stocks markets declined sharply on Thursday after Citigroup fell to an intra-day low on 87 cents. Citi, once the nation's most powerful bank, has lost 85% of its market capitalization this year alone. Citigroup's shares will remain on the New York Stock Exchange. Last week, the NYSE relaxed its listing rules to allow stocks that fall under $1 to still be listed and traded on the exchange. The exchange said the change was warranted given the current period of unusual market volatility and decline.

By the end of trading, Citi managed to close on $1.01.

The financial sector led the way down, with the XLF financial sector ETF declining 11.03% on the day. Bank of America lost nearly 12%, JP Morgan fell 16% and Wells Fargo 17.4%. The KBW regional bank index declined 11.8%.

The S&P 500 actually made a 0.92% advance in the last 30 minutes of trading on the highest volume of the day, gaining 6.25 points in the process.

And in what has to be one of the most absurd examples of self-serving political garbage, U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said he wants to see people prosecuted for wrongdoing related to the financial crisis as lawmakers overhaul regulation of Wall Street.

Frank will call on attorneys general, bank regulators and officials from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to outline plans for prosecuting and recovering funds from those responsible for the crisis, he said today at a news conference in Washington.

The fact is that the politicians helped to enable the entire housing debacle with their insistence of promoting homeownership at all costs. Specifically, they pressured Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to securitize more and more loans in the years leading up to the bursting of the housing bubble.

That facts are that everyone here was wrong; politicians, banking regulators, financial firms, borrowers, economists and the Federal Reserve itself, starting with Chairman Allen.

At Thursday's close of floor trading on the NYSE, the DOW was on 6594.44 with a loss of 281.40 points (-4.09%). The S&P finished on 682.55, down 30.32 points (-4.25%) while the technology-heavy NASDAQ closed on 1299.59 after falling 54.15 points (-4.00%).

The dollar traded in risk-aversion mode as stocks declined, finishing the session with gains of 0.79% on the euro, 1.74% against Australia's dollar and 0.36% on sterling as it fell 1.15% to the yen.

Treasuries rose as stocks fell, with yield on the 2-year note falling 4.3 basis points to 0.890% while yield on the 10-year note lost 15.3 basis points to 2.818%.

Crude for March delivery was recently trading down $1.76 (-3.88%) to $43.62 per barrel.

Gold for April delivery was recently trading higher by $25.60 (2.94%) to $932.60 per ounce.