Recession Blues Sink Stocks

Steep losses on the stock markets today: The Dow dropped 297.81 points, to close at 7,552.60, and the S&P and Nasdaq both dropped more than 4 percent. The Dow’s horrendous close was less than a point away from its five-and-a-half-year low of Nov. 20, and was led by big drops in banking. “The financials are still the biggest concern for this market,” a Wachovia Securities strategist tells The Wall Street Journal. “A lot of investors are still worried about possible nationalization of some banks.” Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase dropped more than 12 percent, while troubled carmaker GM, which had a deadline today to present a turnaround plan, closed down 12.8 percent. The Chicago volatility index highlighted investors’ nervousness, surging 13 percent. The sole bright spot? Bear favorite gold, which jumped to more than $975 an ounce, its highest price since July.