The Dow dropped to below 9,000 today, falling a steep 678.91 points to 8,579.19. Stocks slumped for a seventh day in a row, the longest downward stretch since 1996, and the first dip below 9,000 since 2003. The Treasury's latest move to reassure investors—possibly buying stakes in struggling banks—failed to make an impact, with Wall Street remaining anxious about slower consumer spending. Shares of GM and Ford dropped precipitously as fears grew that the global auto market could collapse, and bank lending stayed tight, as institutions hoarded cash. If you can believe it, a year ago today, the Dow closed at an all-time high of 14,164.53; since then, it has lost 33%.