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Global Recession Fears Send Markets Tumbling

Stock markets fell Wednesday on news of weak corporate earnings and continued fears of a global recession. Economic analysts and reporters discuss the market's fall and the worldwide impact of the financial crisis.

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    Another brutal day on Wall Street and on global markets. At the same time, we learned that more countries are seeking or considering seeking direct help from the International Monetary Fund.

    For a look at these latest developments, we turn to Catherine Mann, professor of international economics and finance at Brandeis International Business School, and Roben Farzad, a senior writer for BusinessWeek magazine.

    Well, Roben, another 500-point drop. What happened today? What are people pointing to?

  • ROBEN FARZAD, Editor, BusinessWeek:

    What didn't happen? I mean, you have emerging economies teetering, a corruption scandal out of the IMF. You have continued weakness in the United States, toxic assets, hedge fund selling. The only thing we haven't seen so far is an asteroid or a Godzilla.

    So nobody knows how to take all these things happening in tandem. And so you sell first and ask questions later.


    All right, I'm not going to ask you about Godzilla. Let's go to the domestic market first. The corporate earnings were so bad, I guess. That's what people were pointing to. What kind of companies are involved?


    Well, you have it hitting really everybody, not just the blue chips of the world. But obviously the weaker companies, the financials took their lumps for the past 10 months. It's not getting better there.

    You're having hedge fund clients pull their money. Commodities producers are getting hit all of a sudden. You talk about oil being down 50 percent, so ExxonMobil takes it on the chin. You have weak earnings across the board, no sort of appetite for mergers and acquisitions.

    Corporate managers really being tight on the purse strings, because they don't know which other shoe is going to drop, so it's a continued retrenchment across the board.

    And everything is being sold off, not just real estate anymore, but emerging markets, commodities, you name it. This is a global deleveraging across the board.