US stock markets fall to lowest levels since 1997

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Logarithmic graph of the Dow from January 2000 through December 2008

Three major United States stock market indexes closed at their lowest levels in over a decade on Monday, amidst declining investor confidence and worries that the government will nationalize the banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 3.41%, or 251.4 points, to end the day at 7,114.3, its lowest level since October 1997. The Standard and Poor's 500 index lost 26 points or 3.5% to a level of 743.33, its lowest level since April 1997. The Russel 2000 Index of smaller companies dropped by four percent.

The three stock market indexes have been falling for the last six days.

The Nasdaq Composite index lost 53.5 points, or 3.71%, closing at 1,387.7. However, the index remained above its November 20, 2008 low of 1316.12.

Despite the worries about the banks, bank shares climbed today. Bank of America shares rose by 3.2%, whilst Citigroup gained 9.7%. However, stocks for both banks have plunged more than 68% this year-to-date.

"People left and right are throwing in the towel. The biggest thing I see here is the incredible pessimism — the government is doing a lousy job of alleviating fears," said Keith Springer of Capital Financial Advisory Services.

"Many investors simply can’t contemplate any more stock market risk in their portfolios. Sentiment in the market is very weak and negative," said the senior market strategist for Invesco AIM, Fritz Meyer.


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