Dow plunges 7.3% near the close; panic on Wall St

Having ebbed and flowed through the day on hopes that multiple government and central bank interventions had stabilised the situation, Wall St lost its nerve near the close and launched into a frenzy of panic selling. The Dow closed down 7.3% at 8.579 points and is now down 39% from its peaks in the middle of last year.  General Motors shares fell 30% on fears about its survival after Standard and Poor's threatened a credit rating downgrade and both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch also fell around 30% on fears their capital injections were in doubt. The NZX is expected to open sharply lower.     

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