Global Stocks Drop Again After Rebound

Posted August 10th, 2011 at 4:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Concerns about weak U.S. economic growth and worries about European debt sent stocks plunging on Wednesday.

In New York, the Dow Jones Average fell almost 5 percent white the S&P and NASDAQ indexes also were down sharply — giving back all the gains from Tuesday's recovery a Monday sell-off.

Major European indexes in London, Paris, and Frankfurt also fell Wednesday as much as 5 percent as reports surfaced that France might lose its top AAA credit rating. Later in the day, the three major credit rating agencies did affirm France's AAA rating.

Also Wednesday, the Fitch rating agency downgraded Cyprus government bonds two notches, following similar moves last month by Moody's and Standard & Poors. Fitch also said Cyprus may have to seek an international economic bailout.

The decline in Europe and the United States ended a strong stock rally that began Tuesday after top officials of the U.S. central bank said they probably will keep interest rates at their current ultra-low level until the middle of 2013.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's record-low interest rates are intended to make it easier to borrow money, expand businesses and hire people. Fed officials said they are worried that the nation's economy is recovering more slowly, and that the labor market is weaker than expected.

Tuesday's Federal Reserve meeting followed several days of steep losses for stock markets around the world, and Friday's downgrade of U.S. credit by the Standard & Poor's rating agency. Central bank officials said they discussed other policy options to boost the economy, and are ready to use them if needed.