Global Recession Fears Hammer Stocks

Updated from 11:23 a.m. EDT

Following precipitous declines in the major world indices, stocks on Wall Street were taking heavy losses Friday, as forced liquidations continued and fear of a global economic slowdown intensified.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, off more than 500 points earlier, lately was down 300 points at 8391, and the S&P 500 gave back 33 points to 875. The Nasdaq tumbled 42 points to 1562.

The selling mood was tied to belief in an impending global recession. Larry Adam, chief investment strategist at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, wrote in a research note that he expects 2009 global growth to register at 1.2%, a rate that falls well below the International Monetary Fund's recession benchmark of 3%. He predicted negative growth for the U.S. and Europe in the coming year. " T he present environment remains fluid and unprecedented," Adam wrote.

Adam notes that while the risk of systemic failure has declined, waning confidence among consumers, businesses and investors, as well as panic and ongoing deleveraging, will continue to hurt the global economy.

The slowdown's impact on emerging markets was adding to the concern. The IMF was mulling a plan to issue expansive short-term loans to emerging markets, according to a report by Bloomberg. The loans would total as much as five times member countries' required contributions to the fund, the report said.

Michael Strauss, chief economist and strategist at Commonfund, said that liquidations by funds needing quick capital took place overnight and contributed to a selloff in world markets. An unwinding of carry trades in the foreign exchange market played in to those declines, he said.

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