BP earned $16 billion in 2009; spending so far on spill is around $1 billion
President Barack Obama has referred to the dividend a number of times in his criticism of BP. The U.S. leader has stepped up his tough talk: As well as ordering the company to pay to clean up the mess, he this week made clear he'd fire BP chief Tony Hayward if he could after a number of gaffes by the CEO.
SHOOT: It's not hard to imagine that BP will be sued to hell, and suffer worldwide public boycotting for their ongoing deceptions and pr tricks. Its stock is in freefall.
Investors dumped shares of BP Wednesday, as estimates of the amount of oil flowing from its blown-out well grew, along with concerns about its ability to pay for the spill in the Gulf.
The stock dropped more that 10 percent, at one point hitting $29.77, the lowest level in 14 years. BP shares have now lost half their value since the April 20 rig explosion off the Louisiana coast.
In Washington, the point man for the U.S. government's response to the oil spill said BP is now capturing more than 630,000 gallons per day from the gushing well. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen's elevated figure means that both BP and the government may have vastly underestimated the total that's spilled into the Gulf up to now.
That seemed to unnerve investors. In afternoon trading in New York, BP shares dropped $4.77, or 13.5 percent, to $29.91.
"It's in freefall," Gheit said of BP stock. "There's an old saying: 'Don't try to catch a falling knife.'"