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NYSE down over 5% following historic lows in European markets

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-12-09

European commodity and financial stocks closed at disastrous levels Thursday, with the CAC 40 and DAX dropping over 5%. Wall Street followed suit, with the NYSE dropping over 5%.

Panic spread in global stock markets Thursday as a jump in US jobless figures and fresh job cuts worldwide deepened fears of recession and sent investors fleeing for cover.

Wall Street's main broad-market indicator sank to an 11-1/2-year low as investors made a frenzied rush for the bond market, sending yields to all-time lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank to a fresh five-and-a-half year low, losing 444.99 points (5.56 percent) to 7,552.29 a day after a 427-point slide.

The Nasdaq lost 5.07 percent to 1,316.12, its lowest close since 2003. The broad Standard & Poor's 500 plummeted 6.71 percent to 752.44, the weakest finish since April 1997.

Elizabeth Harrow at Schaeffer's Investment Research said the market was pounded by "a seemingly endless barrage of dismal economic news."

The market wobbled most of the day and a sell-off accelerated as Democrats in Congress put off a vote on a bailout for crisis-hit "Big Three" automakers until at least December, and told industry chiefs to come up with a new rescue pitch.

The news dimmed prospects for a key sector with the overall economy facing dire problems and unemployment rising.

"Sentiment on Wall Street took another severe blow with a late-day drop amid exacerbated economic woes and uncertainty toward the health of the US auto industry," said analysts at Charles Schwab & Co.

London's FTSE 100 stock index fell 3.26 percent to close at 3,874.99. In Frankfurt the DAX lost 3.08 percent to 4,220.20 and the CAC 40 in Paris plunged 3.48 percent to 2,980.42.

"Any remaining confidence in global markets has been well and truly trampled on today as investors throw in the towel," said David Evans, an analyst at

"After months of bailouts, mini rallies, more bailouts and false dawns, investors have had enough."

"There has been a panicked flight to quality today as the yield on the shortest term US treasury bonds sinks to near zero," he added. "Money is flooding to what is perceived to the safest haven in these troubled times."

The panic pushed investors into bonds, breaking records for that market.

The yield on four-week Treasury bills fell to 0.045 percent and the three-month bill was yielding just 0.03 percent, as investors rushed for safety.

The 10-year Treasury bond yielded 3.022 percent, the lowest on record, after 3.391 percent Wednesday. The 30-year bond yield declined to 3.502 percent, the lowest since records were kept by the Federal Reserve in 1977, against 3.972 percent.

Among more grim economic news, the US Conference Board reported that its forward-looking index of leading economic indicators declined 0.8 percent in October. Data on Wednesday showed plunging US consumer prices and home building starts.

The Conference Board's index "pointed to an extended slowdown," said Sara Kline at

Several heavyweight manufacturers announced job cuts worldwide, worsening the gloom.

Isuzu Motors said it would cut 1,400 jobs and slash domestic production by 10 percent, the latest in a slew of layoffs by Japanese automakers to cope with a global economic slowdown.

French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen announced plans to cut 3,550 posts.

In London, the British maker of plane engines Rolls-Royce said it anticipated cutting between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs worldwide in 2009.

Russian shares plunged again Thursday as investors responded to record falls in US stocks and continued concerns about the domestic economy.

The dollar-denominated RTS closed down 7.38 percent at 561.14 points while the ruble-denominated MICEX fell 4.38 percent to 533.70 points.

Trading in Moscow was suspended earlier in the day for an hour after a torrid opening session.

Elsewhere's Canada's S&P/TSX index plunged 9.02 percent to its lowest level since 2003. Brazil's Bovespa lost 2.02 percent.

Earlier Thursday, Tokyo closed down a huge 6.89 percent, Hong Kong shed 4.0 percent, Seoul dived 6.7 percent and Sydney slid 4.2 percent.

Date created : 2008-11-20