Dow drops more than 700 points - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Dow drops more than 700 points

NEW YORK, N.Y. -  A nervous Wall Street that has yet to see credit relief is pushing stocks still lower. The Dow has plummeted more than 700 points, dipping well under 10,000. Investors around the world are becoming more convinced that the financial crisis is spreading to other countries, sending stocks lower everywhere.

The Bush administration's 700 billion dollar rescue plan won't work quickly to unfreeze the credit markets, and many banks are still having difficulty gaining access to cash. That's caused investors to exit stocks and move money into the relative safety of government debt.

Over the weekend, governments across Europe rushed to prop up failing banks. The German government and financial industry agreed on a 68-billion dollar bailout for commercial-property lender Hypo Real Estate Holding. France's BNP Paribas agreed to acquire a 75 percent stake in Fortis's Belgium bank after a government rescue failed.

The governments of Germany, Ireland and Greece also said they would guarantee bank deposits.

The Federal Reserve also took fresh steps to help ease seized-up credit markets. The central bank said it will begin paying interest on commercial banks' reserves and will expand its loan program to squeezed banks.

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