But don’t panic.
Overnight the central banks for the U.S., Europe, and Japan (with others) worked out a coordinated plan to flood the world with $247 billion to help loosen up what has become a complete lockdown in the world’s financial markets. The move seemed to ease some concern as European stock markets posted gains and Asian shares pared some loses. American stock futures climbed as well. (They’ll worry about inflation later.)
In other news, Morgan Stanley is in merger talks with a couple of U.S. banks (Wachovia leading) while looking to China for fresh capital. And WaMu has put itself up for auction with Wells Fargo, Chase, and HSBC thought to be in the bidding. The stock is currently trading just about $2 a share. WaMu has got, apparently, a train wreck of a balance sheet so investors shouldn’t look for good news there.
Russia has shut down it’s two main stock exchanges, MICEX and RTS, until at least Friday.
And the yield on a 3-month T-bill is under a tenth of one percent, meaning it pays virtually no interest. It’s a measure of how freaked everyone is that they’re willing to buy these bonds without making money on the deal.
We’ll see what happens throughout the day, but right now everyone is just waiting for the next shoe to drop.
For an good overview of the chaos, here’s a nice piece from the Wall Street Journal.
Oh, and here’s a story on our fearless leader’s disappearing act. Anyone who voted for this clown ought to be ashamed.