These banks and others around the world haven't worked together to inject liquidity into the markets since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But the measures, which are intended to keep currency markets well-oiled, also seemed to confirm investor fears of a larger problem in the credit markets.
Such unease sent the Dow Jones industrials down 387 points, or 2.8 percent, Thursday. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.96 percent.
Early Friday, Dow futures expiring in September fell 141, or 1.06 percent, to 13,186. S&P 500 futures fell 17.70, or 1.21 percent, to 1,440.20. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 20.25, or 1.04 percent, to 1,925.25.
Stock markets abroad took a drubbing Friday amid concerns that diminishing access to credit will derail the global economy's strong growth and bring a halt to the corporate deal-making that has spurred stock markets in the U.S. and abroad.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 2.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 2.9 percent.
In early afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 3.16 percent, Germany's DAX index fell 1.66 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell 3.17 percent.
Bonds rose again Friday as investors again sought the relative safety of Treasurys. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 4.74 percent from 4.79 percent late Thursday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.
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The concerns about credit and the effect of subprime loans, those made to borrowers with weak credit, were undiminished Friday, perhaps in part because of comments from Countrywide Financial Corp.
The nation's biggest mortgage lender said in a regulatory filing Thursday that disruptions in credit and secondary mortgage markets pose a risk to the company and could hurt its financial standing in the short-term. Earlier in the week, Countrywide said it still has access to capital despite the credit crunch.
In economic news, the Commerce Department is set to release data on July import prices before the opening bell Friday. Economists are expecting that prices will have risen at a slower pace than in June.
Light, sweet crude fell 80 cents to $70.79 per barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
On the Net:
New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com/
Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com/
[Associated Press; by Tim Paradis]
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