- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Dow Jones average plunges 635 points
Stock market dives after credit downgrade
Wall Street stocks plummeted Monday on the first-ever downgrade of the United States’ credit rating, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 635 points in a panicky day of wild gyrations.
Standard & Poor’s Corp.’s move over the weekend to cut the U.S. rating from AAA to AA-plus shook confidence among global investors and added to worries that the world’s largest economy could sink into a double-dip recession.
Investors dumped stocks and fled into safe havens like gold, which rose to new record highs over $1,700 an ounce. Ironically, U.S. Treasury bonds were not hurt by the downgrade but continued to be a destination for investors fleeing mayhem in the stock market. The yield on Treasury’s 10-year bond fell as low as 2.34 percent.
In a selloff that got progressively worse throughout the day, the Dow crashed through 11,000 to end down 5.6 percent at 10,810. The S&P 500 and other major U.S. indexes lost up to 7 percent of their value. Global stocks from Hong Kong to London also took a pummeling even before the U.S. market opened as investors worldwide feared the consequences of the downgrade of the once unshakable credit of the United States.
“It amounts to a vote of no confidence in the U.S. government,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS global Insight. “The U.S. political process is at present unable to deliver a long-term fix to stabilize the debt.”
Despite the downgrade, Mr. Gault said investors still view the U.S. Treasury market as “by far the largest and most liquid in the world, with no equal, and a relative safe haven in times of global stress.” U.S. bonds also are benefiting by comparison to the bonds of even more heavily indebted European countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, he said.
S&P added to market pressures on Monday by downgrading major financial institutions that rely on the U.S. government for funds, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and most of the Federal Home Loan Banks.
Some highly rated states and cities also are waiting with bated breath to see if S&P will cut their ratings because of their dependence on federal aid.
S&P warned that another cut in the U.S. rating could come as soon as November if Congress does not follow through with the minimal spending cuts of about $2.1 trillion that it agreed to make in a debt compromise last week. The U.S. could also be further downgraded if the economy deteriorates further, leading to even larger U.S. budget deficits because of lower revenues and higher unemployment spending, S&P said.
S&P executive David Beers told Reuters television that President Obama could stabilize the rating by refusing to sign any extension of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. The ratings agency has indicated that both increased revenues and far-reaching reforms in entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are needed for the U.S. regain control over its debt and maintain or improve its rating in the future.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Employers add 175K in February; unemployment rose to 6.7 percent
- Chevron scores court win in $9B Ecuador rainforest case
- Moscow shakes up the financial world
- Siberian shale find fuels Russia's fracking future
- Comcast acquisition deal for Time Warner primed to transform the cable box
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- CPAC 2014: Straw poll signals Paul-Cruz showdown
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again