U.S. Stocks Plunge

U.S. stocks plunged the most since the crash of 1987, hammered by the biggest drop in retail sales in three years and growing doubt that plans to bail out banks will keep the nation out of a recession.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. tumbled more than 12 percent as commodity prices declined on concern the slowing economy will hurt demand. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. retreated 8 percent after the Commerce Department said purchases at chain stores decreased 1.2 percent last month. Morgan Stanley lost 16 percent after Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Meredith Whitney said the government's bank rescue is not a ``panacea'' solution.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index plunged 90.31 points, or 9.1 percent, to 907.7. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 733.48, or 7.9 percent, to 8,577.51, its second biggest point drop ever. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 150.68, or 8.5 percent, to 1,628.33. About 42 stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

Canadian stocks retreated from their biggest gain in 32 years, led by commodity and financial companies, on speculation global bank bailouts won't be enough to prop up economic growth and demand for raw materials.
The Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index dropped 6.3 percent to 9,323.40. Canada's main equity benchmark jumped 9.8 percent yesterday when the U.S. outlined details of a $250 billion plan to buy equity stakes in banks to unlock credit and bolster economic growth. The S&P/TSX is trading 37 percent below its June 18 record.

Brazilian stocks dropped, halting their biggest rally this decade, on concern slowing global growth will hurt demand for raw materials and reduce the earnings of the nation's biggest commodity producers. The Bovespa slid 13.74 percent to 35,858.61. The index gained 17 percent this week through yesterday.

European stocks fell for the first time in three days after U.S. retail sales tumbled and U.K. unemployment climbed to the highest in almost two years, heightening concern economies are slipping into recession.

National benchmark indexes slid in all 18 western European markets. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 7.2 percent as Rio Tinto Group retreated. France's CAC 40 decreased 6.8 percent, led by Total SA as crude oil dropped below $75 a barrel. Germany's DAX declined 6.5 percent as Siemens AG tumbled.

Asian stocks declined, a day after the region's benchmark index rallied the most in a decade, as concern earnings will deteriorate overshadowed a $2 trillion global bank rescue.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.1 percent to 9,547.47, erasing an earlier 1.9 percent retreat. The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 35.20 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,300.

Indian stocks fell, after the benchmark Sensitive Index posted the biggest two-day jump in three months, on concerns lower demand will crimp earnings. The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 674.28 or 5.87 percent, to 10,809.12.

China's stocks fell for a second day, led by commodity producers, on concern profits will decline as economic growth slows. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China's two exchanges, lost 20.26, or 1.1 percent, to 1,914.36 at the close, with commodity shares accounting for about 50 percent of the decline.

Russian stocks dropped, led by OAO Rosneft and OAO Lukoil, as sinking oil prices hurt the outlook for the economy and investors sold shares to raise cash amid the country's worst financial crisis since 1998. The Micex Index fell 8 percent to 695.24, poised for its biggest decline in four days.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
10/15/2008 1:32:24 PM