Tuesday, January 22, 2008

World Markets Showing Signs of Pneumonia

Paraphrasing an old business aphorism that if America sneezed, the rest of the world caught a cold. The depressed chill of a raging fever is blatant and on display in the world's trading markets. American markets are set to open this morning facing pent up energy after being closed yesterday for the official federal observance of Martin Luther King Junior's Birthday. It is with deep irony that the man who gave his life for pursuing economic equality and social justice with a Poor People's campaign standing with garbage workers in Memphis, has his day and then, avaricious corporate titans of Hedge funds, insurance companies backing sub prime mortgages, usury laden credit card companies will see a financial reckoning the day after MLK's honor.

"You can see investors have lost confidence in the U.S. government's ability to handle the subprime situation," said Castor Pang, a strategist at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong. "The policy to stimulate the economy has not measured up."

In Europe Monday, investors also dumped stocks, sending the Britain's benchmark FTSE-100 down 5.5 percent and France's CAC-40 Index sliding 6.8 percent. Germany's blue-chip DAX 30 plunged 7.2 percent to 6,790.19.

That slide continued Tuesday, with benchmark indices in China, South Korea and Singapore falling at least 4 percent. Australia's benchmark index slid 7.1 percent and Indonesia's market was down 9 percent.

Takeuchi said investors feel that the selloff is spreading worldwide, setting off fears of a global downturn. Risks of economic contraction have been growing in Japan as both exports and consumer spending are weakening, he said.

The World took note of America's infrastructure issues and signals the coming bedlam in the opening of the NYSE or New York Stock Exchange. While we were sleeping in the US of A, the China's Hang Seng shed 22% of its value, Japan's Nikkei - from the second largest economy in the world took a nosedive, India's market closed an hour after opening due to an almost 10% plummet in value for the world's largest democracy. Out of all of this the US dollar, which had pernicious anemia may actually see a moment of health. But the international stock markets are in shambles today, boding that America needs to get its financial house in order. The Bush Administration, again belatedly as is their way, recognizing a crisis, threw out a hasty stimulus idea that would give regular people around $800 USD. Um, the issue is not spending more, but saving more. Alas, we shall await the Dow's verdict today. The US futures market was a phlemgy mess. (AP Photos)

The First Black Friday October 29, 1929 heralded the arrival of a FDR or alphabet soup of programs in American politics to get the US back on its feet. David M. Kennedy offers a compelling birds eye view of the history lessons for the American public from that time in Freedom From FearL The American People in Depression and War 1929-1945.

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