The Meltdown

Dow Plummets Below 8,000

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a depressing new benchmark today, as it slid 427.47 points and closed below 8,000 for the first time since 2003, at 7,990. But the Dow wasn’t alone in its late-day decline: The S&P 500 dropped 6.1 percent and the Nasdaq composite index fell 6.5 percent. The steep drops came late in the afternoon as it seemed increasingly unlikely that Washington would bail out Detroit’s ailing auto industry. As if that wasn’t bad enough news for the car giants, GM and Ford saw their stocks fall to $2.78 and $1.27, respectively. The financial industry didn’t fare much better, dropping a full 9 percent over the course of the day. Citigroup alone dropped 22 percent, to $6.40. “It’s painful,” S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt told The New York Times. “A lot of people have pulled a lot of cash out. They’re sitting on the side. It’s all I hear all day: ‘Where can I hide?’”