For the second-straight day, stocks plunged Wednesday as concerns about a worldwide recession and futures earnings from some of the global giants made headlines.
The fear of recession spread from stocks to other markets, as hard assets like gold and other commodities sold off. Energy, financial and materials led the decline and all 10 economic sectors posted losses ranging from negative 10.4% (energy) to negative 3.8% (consumer staples).
The losses occurred despite impressive earnings gains by some of the great global names: Apple (AAPL), McDonald’s (MCD), Merck (MRK), and Phillip Morris International (PM) all beat estimates. But Apple was the only one that closed higher, at $96.57, up $5.08.
Yahoo (YHOO) reported earnings after the close on Tuesday, beating estimates by a penny and announcing a 10% cut in its workforce. Yesterday, YHOO rose 32 cents to $12.39.
But the losses Wednesday weren’t primarily due to past earnings but to future earnings, as the overwhelming majority of companies have said that Q4 2008 and at least the first half of 2009 look much slower.
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