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Dow Tanks after Obama Signs in New Bill

Posted on 17 February 2009

Stocks slid within striking distance of the November bear-market low on Tuesday, as grim manufacturing data signaled the recession is worsening and warnings on risks facing European banks underscored the continuing toll of the financial crisis.

Financial stocks sank to 14-year lows after Moody’s Investors Service said banks could be hit by the recession in Eastern Europe, pulling the S&P Financial index down 8 percent.

Data showing a sharp contraction in Japan’s economy set the tone early in the day and helped yank oil prices down nearly 7 percent to below $35 a barrel. Chevron and Exxon Mobil were the Dow’s biggest drags, sliding more than 4 percent.

Wall Street is worried that General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC might not be able to prove by Tuesday’s deadline that they can repay billions of dollars in loans and return to profitability. GM has already received $9.4 billion from the government, and could get another $4 billion if the Treasury Department signs off on its viability plan. Chrysler has borrowed $4 billion, and is seeking another $3 billion.