U.S. Stocks Slide to Five-Year Lows

U.S. stocks sank and benchmark indexes slid to their lowest levels since 2003 on growing concern over the health of the financial system and survival of the nation's car industry.

Citigroup Inc. slid 23 percent to $6.40, a 13-year low, on a plan to buy $17.4 billion of troubled investment-fund assets. General Motors Corp. tumbled 9.7 percent to its lowest price since the 1940s, while Ford Motor Co. lost 25 percent. Fourteen companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 20 percent or more as government data signaled the recession is deepening.

The S&P 500 slipped 6.1 percent to 806.58, extending its 2008 retreat to 45 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 427.47 points, or 5.1 percent, to 7,997.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 6.5 percent to 1,386.42. Twenty-eight stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

European stocks fell, pushing the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index to the lowest level since May 2003, as concern deepened the economic slowdown will cut profits for chemical companies, financial firms and commodity producers.

National benchmark indexes retreated in all of the 18 western European markets, with eight dropping more than 4 percent. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 4.8 percent. Germany's DAX slid 4.9 percent. France's CAC 40 sank 4 percent.

Japan stocks declined, led by financial companies, on concern the nation's drop into recession will lead to an increase in bad-loan costs. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 55.19, or 0.7 percent, to 8,273.22.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped for the third day. The benchmark lost 23.60 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,499.60 at the close in Sydney, the lowest since Aug. 20, 2004.

Indian stocks reversed early gains to close lower for the sixth straight day after Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said companies should cut prices to boost demand, raising concern that earnings would drop. The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, lost 163.42, or 1.8 percent, to 8,773.78, the lowest level since Oct. 27.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
11/19/2008 1:31:40 PM