September - December 2008
The credit crisis shook the global economy and forced a dramatic reconfiguration of Wall Street and its relationship with Washington. Here is a day-by-day look at the early and most crucial stages of the crisis, its impact on the financial system and the steps legislators and government officials took to help avert a meltdown in global financial markets.
U.S. automakers announce huge drops in third quarter sales figures.
The Institute for Supply Management's survey shows U.S. manufacturing is at a 26-year low.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -5.18
Democratic candidate Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States in a landslide victory over Republican opponent John McCain.
The Commerce Department reports that U.S. factory orders were down 2.5 percent in September compared with September 2007, a deeper-than-expected drop.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +305.45
U.S. stocks plunge as investors lock in profits from Tuesday's rally and digest more poor economic news.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -486.01
The Dow falls 443 points after losing 500 points on Nov. 5, resulting in its biggest two-day percentage drop since 1987.
The Bank of England cuts its benchmark interest rate to 3 percent, the lowest level since 1955. The European Central Bank, Swiss National Bank and the Czech Republic central bank also cut rates.
The Labor Department reports that the number of Americans drawing long-term unemployment benefits spiked by 122,000 to 3.84 million in late October, the highest level in 25 years.
The International Monetary Fund cuts its estimate for global growth by 0.75 of a percentage point today, saying GDP around the world will grow by only 2.2 percent in 2009.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -443.48
The unemployment rate rises to 6.5%, a 14-year high, after the U.S. economy sheds 240,000 jobs in October.
Ford and General Motors report dismal third quarter results, adding urgency to the request by the Big Three automakers for an additional $25 billion in federal assistance.
President-elect Barack Obama vows a quick response to the nation's economic crisis.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +248.02
China announces a $586 billion stimulus package, the largest in the country's history, that would ease credit restrictions, expand social welfare services and include the construction of new railways, roads and airports.
The U.S. government expands the bailout package for troubled insurer AIG from $123 billion to $150 billion, restructuring the plan to include much less debt and providing for direct government investment in the company.
Fannie Mae reports a $29 billion third quarter loss and says it may have to tap the government's $100 billion lifeline.
Starbucks says its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 97 percent, dragged down by the cost of closing 600 U.S. stores and 61 stores in Australia and weaker same-store sales.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -73.27
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The government and mortgage industry announce a new program to modify mortgages for hundreds of thousands of borrowers to help them avoid foreclosure.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -176.58
Treas. Sec. Henry Paulson says the $700 billion government rescue program will not be used to purchase troubled assets as originally planned and that the main priority of the bailout program would be to bolster banks and consumer lenders.
The Dow drops over 400 points on evidence of a severe slump in consumer spending.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -411.30
The Dow surges 552 points in a late afternoon rally after three straight days of losses.
Evidence of a worldwide recession mounts as Germany says its economy has shrunk for six consecutive months and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts a contraction throughout its membership.
October home foreclosures rise 25 percent compared to October 2007 and jobless claims increase by 32,000 to 516,000, the second-highest total since 1992.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +552.59
Freddie Mac reports a loss of $25 billion from July through September due to the falling value of mortgage securities and an increase in reserves to cover future losses. The government is expected to inject $14 billion into the company to return it to solvency.
Retail sales plunge by 2.8 percent in October compared with the previous month, the fourth straight drop.
Philadelphia, Atlanta and Phoenix ask Treasury for some of the $700 billion bailout/rescue to help them pay bills and and finance construction projects.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -337.94
After four straight losing quarters totaling about $20 billion, Citigroup says it will shed 50,000 positions worldwide.
The National Association of Business Economists' poll of 50 forecasters predicts that the U.S. unemployment rate will top out at 7.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -223.73
The CEOs of the big three Detroit automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler, plead for assistance on Capitol Hill.
The National Association of Realtors says that median home prices fell across 79 percent of the 152 U.S. cities surveyed in the third quarter and the U.S. median home price is $200,500, down 9 percent from a year ago. The National Association of Home Builders reports historically low home builder confidence.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +151.17
Stocks plummet in the final hour of trading, closing below 8,000 for the first time in the bear market.
October housing starts plunge to their lowest level since at least October 1959 and the consumer price index falls by the largest amount in its history.
Federal Reserve leaders release projections indicating they expect the economy to worsen significantly in the coming year and the joblessness rate to rise to 8 percent at the end of 2009.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -427.47
Stocks plummet for the second day in a row as prospects for a bailout of the U.S. auto industry dim.
Lawmakers fail to reach agreement on a proposal to provide $25 billion in emergency aid to the ailing auto industry, but say they may come back after Thanksgiving to try again.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: -444.99
President-elect Barack Obama selects New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner, 47, as Treasury secretary.
Citigroup insists it is in good health despite a one-week 60 percent drop in its share price.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) send a letter to the heads of GM, Ford and Chrysler spelling out the terms that the troubled automakers must meet before Congress will consider a multi-billion-dollar loan to help them stay in business.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +494.13
On Sunday evening, reports emerge that President-elect Barack Obama and other Democrats are rapidly ratcheting up plans for a massive fiscal stimulus program that could total as much as $700 billion over the next two years.
Also on Sunday, the government says it will provide a multibillion dollar backstop for Citigroup, including a $20 billion investment and guarantees against losses on $306 billion in troubled securities.
The Treasury extends until April 30, 2009, its guarantee on deposits in money-market funds, which was put into place on Sept. 19.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +396.97
The Federal Reserve and Treasury move to boost consumer spending and lower home mortgage rates by committing up to $800 billion to make it easier for households to borrow money for cars, tuition bills and new homes.
The Case-Shiller home price index shows that home prices nationally tumble a record 16.6 percent.
FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair says that the number of "problem" banks and thrifts rose from 117 at the end of the second quarter to 171 at the end of the third quarter, the highest level since 1995.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +36.08
The People's Bank of China cuts its key one-year lending and deposit rates by 108 basis points each, to 5.58 percent and 2.52 percent, respectively. It is the bank's fourth rate cut since September and its biggest rate cut in 11 years.
Consumer spending falls by 1 percent in October and consumer confidence falls to a 28-year low in November.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +247.14
In a $31 billion rescue, the British government takes over Royal Bank of Scotland Group with a majority stake of almost 60 percent after the shareholders of the nation's second-largest bank shunned an emergency share issue.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +102.43