There might have been the normal applause as the bell brought share dealing to a close in New York – but the numbers showed there was little to smile about.
Wary of warnings from around the world that recession is around the corner, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day, and the week, down to the lowest level since April 2003.
Chief Equities Analyst at Standard and Poor’s, Sam Stovall said: “This is telling us that global investors are very very nervous. They really don’t want to have long positions over the weekend. They don’t want to have exposure to stock over an extended period of time in which additional news could cause prices to fall further.”
European investors, fearing a long and deep worldwide recession, unloaded risky assets sending currencies weaker and the price of oil lower. Every European stock exchange fell: three-and-a-half per cent down in Paris, with 5 per cent drops in London and Frankfurt.
A growing list of countries have been knocking International Monetary Fund’s door for help, including Hungary, Ukraine, Pakistan and Iceland. Reykjavik has asked for 1.6-billion euros to bail-out its failed banking system and restart trading in its currency. But the Icelandic Prime Minister has warned they might need many more billions before the country is solvent again.