Monday, August 8, 2011

Asian Markets Tank: Europe and US Expected to Follow

Updated on 4:15 p.m. edt

Stock markets tanked around the world today. Welcome back 2008.

President Obama's declaration this afternoon that the nation's man-made economic crisis is "imminently solvable" failed to turn around the stock market's estimated $1 trillion one-day loss triggered by Standard & Poor's contentious decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.

The Dow dipped 633 points, closing at 10,811 and the S&P 500 finished down 79 or 6.7%, at 1,119.46. The Nasdaq fell 174.72 points, or 6.9%, at 2,357.69. It is the first time the Dow declined below 11,000 since November.

"No matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a triple-A country," Obama said.

Depending on who you listen to, the blame goes to Standard & Poor's, the Tea Party, Obama, Speaker John Boehner or old-fashioned Wall Street greed. The most likely scenario is that all of the above cost investors a collective fortune today.

End update

Updated at 8 a.m. EDT

If the Dow Futures and the European and Asian markets are any indication -- and they are -- Wall Street is bracing for a really lousy opening this morning.

The European Central Bank intervened overnight to buy bonds from the wobbly governments in Italy and Spain, but the maneuver only managed to prove what smart money analysts had predicted all weekend: Investors' biggest concern is Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the U.S. debt rating.

The global stock market rout continued in Europe where nearly midway through trading the aggregate Europe 600 index was down nearly 2%. The big three -- London's FTSE, Frankfurt's DAX and Paris's CAC-40 -- were also down significantly.

Even after the ECB's bond buying spree, Italy's FTSE MIB and Portugal's PSI were down, though Spain's IBEX saw a slight rebound.

The Dow Futures were down more that 200 points.

The European markets tanked after the stock exchanges in Asia lost about 4% of their value and trading in the Tel Aviv market was automatically suspended yesterday after it sank.

Even the decision by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner -- the last-man standing from President Obama's original economic team -- did little to concern overseas about the U.S. economy. Geithner spared Obama a nearly impossible task of getting a replacement past partisan Republicans in a Senate confirmation process.

Since Friday, S&P Managing Director John Chambers continued to do damage control for his embattled credit rating service amid criticism from many circles, liberal and conservative, who charge the decision to lower the U.S. debt-rating was something between political chicanery and hypocrisy from an outfit with a lousy track record.

S&P cited the GOP for embracing the agenda pressed by its Tea Party wing for failing to reach a grand bargain that included tax revenues.

End update

And the hits just keep on coming.

The Asian markets followed the Middle Eastern stock exchanges overnight, taking a tailspin after Standard & Poor's controversial decision to lower the U.S. credit rating.

Leading the way in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng, South Korea's Kospi and Japan's Nikkei were all down significantly midway through trading amid fears that the global economy was headed for a serious nose dive.

European and U.S. investors braced for more of the same once their markets open.

Some analysts blamed the world's economy for the market declines in an attempt to take the heat off of S&P, which angered the Obama administration by lowering the U.S. debt rating even after the Treasury Department discovered a $2 trillion error by the credit rating service. S&P blamed Washington's debt shenanigans for its contentious decision, but specifically cited the GOP's Tea Party agenda for failing to allow a broader deal with tax revenues.

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