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Markets Plunge As Sell-Off Continues


Markets were sharply down in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
Global markets hit new lows today despite efforts by U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to restore investors' confidence.

All major European markets fell by midday today, wiping off earlier gains.

The plunge today came following massive sell-offs on August 8, the first day of trading after Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+.

The downgrading, which came amid concerns the eurozone debt crisis could spread to Italy and Spain, sparked fears of a new global recession.

U.S. President Barack Obama sought to reassure investors on August 8, saying, "Because after witnessing a month of [arguing] over raising the debt ceiling, [S&P] doubted our political system's ability to act. The markets, on the other hand, continue to believe our credit status is triple-A. In fact, [billionaire] Warren Buffet, who knows a thing or two about good investments, said, 'If there were a quadruple-A rating, I'd give the United States that." I and most of the world's investors agree."

European Central Bank (ECB) head Jean-Claude Trichet today said the ECB would continue buying government bonds but also called on eurozone governments to "do their duty" in reducing deficits and stabilizing their finances.

On August 8, the ECB bought billions of euros worth of Italian and Spanish bonds.

compiled from agency reports