At one point this morning, the Dow Jones industrial was down 350 points, mirroring the drop in Standard & Poor's and most stock markets in Europe. As the Los Angeles Times puts it, today the market came down from yesterday's U.S. rally as pessimism "about the economy overtook investors around the globe."
The Times reports:
Before trading opened on Wall Street, the Labor Department announced that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits last week fell slightly from the week before. But the report, following a raft of disappointing economic data in recent days, was taken by many gloomy investors to indicate only that the stalled job market is not improving.
Some investors also are selling to protect their portfolios before Friday's monthly announcement of unemployment data.
For the rest of the day, expect some wild swings. Dow Jones Newswires reports that the markets were "primed for another volatile session."
Here's one financial strategist describing the mood to Bloomberg:
"The mood right now is gloomy," Mike Ryan, the New York- based chief investment strategist at UBS Wealth Management Americas, said in a telephone interview. His firm oversees $774 billion. "The burden of proof is for better data that show the economy is not falling into recession. Tomorrow's payroll report is crucial. If we see another disappointment, the stock market will have significant downside from here."