Stocks Drop Worldwide

Stocks slid worldwide, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average below 7,000 for the first time since 1997, and Treasuries rose after Warren Buffett said the economy is in “shambles” and American International Group Inc. posted the largest corporate loss in U.S. history., Bloomberg 3/2/2009 1:17:57 PM

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. fell 4.7 percent following the worst drop in book value in Buffett’s career at the company. Citigroup Inc. tumbled 20 percent as AIG posted a $61.7 billion quarterly loss and HSBC Holdings Plc said it needs to raise capital, triggering the worst plunge in U.K. banks since at least 1985. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest company by market value, fell as oil slid 10 percent. General Electric Co. sank below $8 for the first time since 1994.

The Dow decreased 299.64 points, or 4.2 percent, to 6,763.29. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 4.7 percent to 700.82, it slowest close since October 1996. Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index tumbled 5 percent, its steepest loss in three months. Eighteen stocks fell for each that gained on the New York Stock Exchange, making it the broadest decline in almost three weeks.

Treasuries rose as investors sought a haven, driving the yield on 10-year notes down 10 basis points, the most in almost two weeks, to 2.92 percent.

The MSCI World Index of stocks in 23 developed nations fell 4.9 percent to 713.75, the lowest closing level since the Iraq War began in March 2003. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slid 5.1 percent, while Hungary’s forint dropped after European Union banks spurned aid pleas for eastern Europe.