Investors: Poorer Everywhere

Global market declines are huge.

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With the S&P 500 at an 11-year low after yesterday's rout, Merrill Lynch surveys the damage.

World equity market capitalization has lost more than $35 trillion from the market top -- an amount equivalent to the entire spending of the U.S. consumer during 2004-2007.

With all that fear, Merrill says cash is still king among investors even though typical U.S. money market fund yields are at an incredibly low 0.73 percent (it would take 95 years to double your money at that rate Merrill notes).

What are investors waiting for? Three things:

  1. lower volatility and spreads
  2. an end to the puke in the global economic data
  3. completion of big EPS downgrade
  4. When can we expect that? February at the earliest, Merrill says.

    What to watch between now and then: The C.I.A.

    • Credit spreads, for signs credit crunch easing
    • Inventories, for signs that the violent collapse in economic momentum is ending
    • A-shares, for signs that Chinese policy stimulus is working
    • Today, all eyes will be on the sale of Citigroup and the postponed auto bailout. Stocks are flat this morning after most global markets shrugged off U.S. declines.

      • Kirk Shinkle

        Kirk Shinkle is a senior editor for U.S. News Money and manages the Best Funds portal. Follow him on Twitter @KirkS or email him at

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