In the final hour, this market went from a bear to an angry bear.
The Dow lost nearly 679 points, or 7.3 percent. The Nasdaq lost another 5.5 percent, and the S&P dropped 7.6 percent.
Here's what happened:
- Plans to consider taking equity stakes in banks, plus hints of massive capital injections follow a $700 billion rescue package and a half-point rate cut in the last two weeks. Nationalization of some sort becomes likelier by the hour. Bottom line: The government has done everything possible to get credit markets functioning again. They are not.
- Iceland has nationalized its three largest banks. Its currency is collapsing.
- Russia closed its markets again.
- General Motors shares fell to a 58-year low after it said global auto demand could "collapse" in 2009.
- Merrill Lynch closed down more than 25 percent on warnings, and the selling continued heavily after hours. Analysts said its third-quarter loss will be even worse than expected.
If it wasn't clear before, this market is showing no sign of a bottom (though it has to be said, all day, a lot of players said they were considering dipping a toe back in). Bear markets have seen shares fall more than 50 percent just twice during the postwar period. We're edging toward 40 percent now.