- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2009


U.S. stock markets continued to drop Monday into the afternoon, following markets across the world earlier in the day.

The losses come amid uncertainty about President Obama’s plan Monday morning to save the struggling U.S. auto industry and the G-20 summit later this week in London where world leaders will discuss the international economic crisis.

Mr. Obama vowed in an 11 a.m. press conference not to allow the U.S. auto industry to vanish and said Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. would receive additional loans on narrow guideline and deadlines. But the plan failed to promptly reverse the markets’ downward trend.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 285.78 points, to 7,490.40, just before noon. The S&P 500-stock Index was down 29.51 percentage points, to 788. The NASDAQ was down 53.70 points, to 1,491.50.

The drop comes despite an overall strong month for U.S. markets.

RELATED STORY: World stocks tumble, await G-20

The Dow as of Friday had posted gains for three straight weeks, despite a 148-point sell-off Friday, to close at 7,766.38. It was Wall Street’s strongest three-week rally since 1982.

The Europe and Asia markets fell Monday morning following the sell-off Friday.

The FTSE 100 of leading British shares was down 118.26 points, to 3780.59.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 390.89 points, or 4.5 percent, to 8,236.08.

The talks in London will open Thursday with leaders of industrialized and developing countries looking to reach a unified plan on improving global markets. However, they have blamed the United States for creating the worldwide economic crisis and have been critical of Mr. Obama’s multibillion-dollar bailout plan. Other countries have created smaller bailout plans and appear reluctant to spend additional money.

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