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Market update

US markets are closed today, due to the Martin Luther King holiday, but I thought we'd do a bit of an international market news update and stay up to date.

Though US stocks are not trading this Monday, there seems to be enough bad news hanging over the US stock market and economy to help drive international share markets lower today.

A quick review of the news shows one downbeat headline after another and poor market performance all around. The news from Australia, Japan, the UK, and Europe shares one main theme: worries over the state of the American economy.

Here is a selection of quotes from the articles linked above.

From, "European stocks down 5.8 percent...":

European shares fell nearly 6 percent on Monday, their biggest one-day slide since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, as fears of a U.S. recession and more write downs in the financial sector sparked a broad-based selloff.

"This is like a panic. It's like out, out, out (of stocks). Run for cover," said Dirk Mueller, a trader at Frankfurt brokerage ICF.

"There is a very ugly sense of capitulation and the worst thing is that we can't see where it will all end," said Javier Galan, fund manager at Spanish brokerage Renta 4.

From, "Footsie's biggest ever one-day points fall":

The FTSE 100 has marked its biggest ever one-day fall - in nominal terms at least.

Outstripping the points losses of Black Monday and September 11, 2001, the index has ended down 323.5 points, or 5.5%, at 5578.2. In percentage terms it has not quite matched the day of the US terror attacks, when the FTSE 100 slumped 5.7%.

From, "Japan stocks fall to 2-year low on local, US slowdown conern":

Japanese stocks fell to a two-year low on concern the world's two largest economies are slowing.

``The Japanese economy has been weakening and a lot of economists had been overly optimistic,'' said Soichiro Monji, who helps oversee $47 billion at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. in Tokyo. ``The negative news is reminding investors of the instability of U.S. financial institutions and the economy.''

And in Australia, "Dear, oh dear...":

THE sharemarket took a another bath yesterday, for the 11th day in a row, a rout that is now assuming bloodbath proportions.

The ASX 200 index closed 166.9 points, or 2.9 per cent, lower at 5580.4, and the All Ordinaries fell 168.5, to 5630.9

A Macquarie Equities private client adviser, Marcus Droga, said there was still a strong sense of concern among investors.

"It's all running off the back of the US situation, the rescue package announced [by US President George Bush], and overriding concern over whether or not they are slipping into recession."

So as you can see, the recent bearish action in the US markets has now spread worldwide, at least for the time being.

What lies ahead for US and global stock markets? We'll try and examine that question further later on this week. Till then, have a good day (and don't panic!).

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