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Hoosier stocks tumble along with global markets

October 6, 2008

Stocks in Indiana and across the globe tumbled again today, as fears grew that the financial crisis will cascade through economies globally despite bailout efforts by the U.S. and other governments.

T
he Dow Jones industrials skidded nearly 500 points and fell below 10,000 for the first time in four years, while the credit markets remained under strain.

In Indiana, locally based Calumet Specialty Products Partners, a maker of petroleum products, tumbled 27 percent, to $8.27. Irwin Financial Corp., the troubled bank headquartered in Columbus, fell 21 percent, to $2.45.

The markets have come to the sobering realization that the Bush administration's $700 billion rescue plan won't work quickly to unfreeze the credit markets, and that many banks are still having difficulty gaining access to cash. That's caused investors to exit stocks and move money into the relative safety of government debt.

Over the weekend, governments across Europe rushed to prop up failing banks. The German government and financial industry agreed on a $68 billion bailout for commercial-property lender Hypo Real Estate Holding AG, while France's BNP Paribas agreed to acquire a 75 percent stake in Fortis's Belgium bank after a government rescue failed.

The governments of Germany, Ireland and Greece also said they would guarantee bank deposits.

The Federal Reserve also took fresh steps to help ease seized-up credit markets. The central bank said Monday it will begin paying interest on commercial banks' reserves and will expand its loan program to squeezed banks.

Investors took a bleak view of the future, seeing no end to the crisis in the near term.

"This is a psychologically important moment that we passed below the 10,000 level," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "But, the issues are worldwide. The fact is people are scared and the only thing they're doing is selling."

In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 443.08, or 4.29 percent, to 9,882.30, dropping below 10,000 for the first time since Oct. 29, 2004. At one point, the Dow was down nearly 600.

Broader indexes also tumbled. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 53.12, or 4.83 percent, to 1,046.11; and the Nasdaq composite index fell 101.07, or 5.19 percent, to 1,846.32. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 29.31, or 4.73 percent, to 590.09.

There were only 78 advancing stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, compared to 3,080 decliners. Volume came to 512.4 million shares.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 closed 4.25 percent lower. Europe's stock markets also declined, with the FTSE-100 down 6.31 percent, Germany's DAX down 8.29 percent, and France's CAC-40 down 8.76 percent.

The anxiety was again obvious in the credit markets. The yield on the three-month Treasury bill slipped to 0.33 percent from 0.50 percent late Friday. Demand for bills remains high because of their safety; investors are willing to take extremely low returns just to have their money in a secure place.

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