The Dow Jones industrials skidded more than 800 points and fell below 10,000 for the first time in four years, while the credit markets remained under strain. Financial markets took a despairing view of the future Monday, seeing contagion in a credit crisis that threatens to cascade through economies globally despite government efforts to provide relief.Investors around the world have come to the sobering realization that the Bush administration’s $700 billion rescue plan won’t work quickly to unfreeze the credit markets. Global banks, hobbled by wrong-way bets on mortgage securities, remain starved for cash as credit has dried up.
That has sent stocks spiraling downward in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and driven investors to sink money into the relative safety of U.S. government debt. Fears about a global recession also caused oil to drop below $90 a barrel; and the benchmark index that gauges fear in the market jumped to the highest level in its 18-year history.
“The fact is people are scared and the only thing they’re doing is selling,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “Investors are cleaning out portfolios and getting rid of everything because nothing seems to be working.”
The selling was so extreme that only 67 stocks rose on the NYSE—and 3,155 dropped. That’s a telling sign considering the stock market is considered a leading economic indicator, with investors tending to buy and sell based on where they believe the economy will be in six to nine months.
Monday’s steep decline on Wall Street indicates that investors are becoming more convinced that the country is leading a prolonged economic crisis that is spreading to other nations. Over the weekend, governments across Europe rushed to prop up failing banks, while the governments of Germany, Ireland and Greece also said they would guarantee bank deposits. – bb
Problem: A disease called “addicted to credit”. Buy gold.