Markets in Free-fall After Catastrophic Economic News

By | August 18, 2011

The DOW opened today at 11,406.50 and at it’s lowest point as of noon, it had dropped more than 500 points to 10,881.6.

Shocking the markets, the Philadelphia regional manufacturing index came in much worse than analysts had expected. A MarketWatch.com survey of economists had shown an expectation of .5, showing moderate growth. Instead, the index showed a steep decline in manufacturing output: -30.7 – the worst showing in more than two years.

As President Obama’s mid-west jobs tour came to a close, unemployment figures released this morning also indicated a weakening in the job market. First time claims rose above 400,000 yet again.

To finish off the triad of dismal economic news, AP reported today that home sales are at the worst level in 14 years:

The number of people who bought previously occupied homes fell in July for the third time in four months. This year is on pace to be the worst in 14 years for home sales, as more Americans worry that the economy could slip back into another recession.

Home sales fell 3.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.67 million homes, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That’s far below the 6 million that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market

Economists had pushed the probability of a double-dip recession up to 30% based on debt fears in Europe and concerns of U.S. stagflation similar to the economy under President Carter. With manufacturing output numbers showing a catastrophic decrease in U.S. activity and unemployment increasing again, that chance is increasing while the country awaits a plan her now-vacationing President.

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