What moved and why on a big day for the markets

AP News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2011 5:55 PM
What moved and why on a big day for the markets

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 419 points Thursday, but that was only part of the story on a head-spinning day in the financial markets. Here's a quick guide to what moved and why.

STOCKS: The Dow was down more than 528 points shortly after trading began. The closing loss of 419 made it the sixth time this month the Dow has moved 400 points in a day. For the month, the Dow has lost almost 10 percent. Investors are worried that a new recession may be coming.

GOLD: Another day, another record. Gold reached almost $1,830 an ounce before closing at $1,824.60. The price has soared 28 percent this year. Some investors see gold as a safe investment at a turbulent time for the markets. Many others are just looking to cash in because it keeps going up.

BONDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury briefly dipped to 1.98 percent on fears of another recession. That's the lowest since at least 1962, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Standard & Poor's may have stripped the United States of its top-notch credit rating, but investors are still buying bonds with gusto because they see the investment as safe. More demand pushes the price up and the yield down.

OIL & GAS: Oil fell almost 6 percent to $82.38 because investors expect the weakening economy to reduce demand. Gasoline prices usually follow oil, so expect Thursday's national average of $3.59 a gallon to fall. Gas could fall to $3.25 this fall.

CURRENCIES: The dollar, Swiss franc and Japanese yen rose because of their reputation as safe places to invest. The euro fell because of concerns about European countries debt problems.

THE ECONOMY: Investors got a series of discouraging reports. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time was the highest in four weeks. Sales of previously occupied homes fell for the third time in four months. Manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic states is weakening sharply. And inflation in July was the fastest since March.