US stocks slump on stock fears

From BBC website implications for Monday morning???

US stocks slump on economy fears

The US housing slowdown has led to wider economic problems
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted nearly 250 points amid fears that the US economy is severely cooling and could even enter a recession.
The benchmark index shed 246.79 points, or 1.91%, to end at 12,606.30 while the Nasdaq fell 1.95%.

A warning by American Express a day earlier, that spending was slowing and defaults would rise, fuelled jitters.

Investors are worried that major banks are yet to reveal the full impact of their exposure to the housing slowdown.

A report in the New York Times on Friday said leading investment bank Merrill Lynch could see as much as $15bn, stemming from its exposure to the sub-prime crisis.

“The financials are going to continue to be a problem,” said Michael Church, portfolio manager at Church Capital Management.

Nerves around the financial sector are increasing as a growing number of leading banks are set to issue earnings statements soon.

Other indexes to fall included the Standard & Poor’s 500, which slumped 1.36%.

And elsewhere, both the FTSE 100 and France’s Cac-40 fell.

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Most of the news was out before the ISEQ closed, but it didn’t really seem to affect the mid-afternoon rally. I think there was a lot of buying on the ISEQ of ‘cheap’ stocks today.

Strangely Merrill Lynch were up 5% on news that they are going to lose a huge amount of money Q4 2007. As BoA are down 2% following their takeover of Countrywide, maybe Merrill are up on the basis that they haven’t caught any falling knives yet? Or just on a repositioning of BoA and Countrywide capital?

The Amex warning is particularly worrying if you read Mike Shedlock as he has long forecast that after residential and commercial real estate, credit cards will be the next debt default crisis.