Jack Healy and Matthew Saltmarsh
International Herald Tribune
February 18, 2009

Financial gloom was everywhere Tuesday.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average came within sight of its lowest levels in more than a decade. Financial shares were battered. And rattled investors clamored to buy rainy-day investments like gold and Treasury debt. Markets from Hong Kong to Stockholm to London also staggered lower.

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It was a global wave of selling spurred by rising worries about how banks, automakers – entire countries – would fare in a deepening recession.

At the close, the Dow was down more than 297.81 points, at 7,552.60 points, a drop of 3.79 percent. The index was just a few fractions of a point away from its lows of Nov. 20, when financial markets plummeted to their lowest point in a decade. The only Dow stock to trade consistently in positive territory on The only Dow stock to trade consistently in positive territory was Wal-Mart, which rose after reporting better-than-expected profit.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index slid 37.67 points, or 4.5 percent, to 789.17 points, unable to cling to what analysts said was an important trading threshold.

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