The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 6.1% to its lowest point since 2003. The S&P is now down 49% from its October 2007 all-time high.
The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000, a broad index of U.S. stocks, slumped 6.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a narrower index, fell 5.1% or 427 points to 7,997; it's still north of last month's bear-market nadir (7,883).
All 50 of the AdMarket's marketer, media and agency stocks headed south. Click here to see current AdMarket prices.
Autos take a hit
Autos tumbled as Detroit continued to be blocked in efforts to get a bailout from Washington. General Motors Corp. ended the day down 9.7% at $2.79 after intraday trading at its lowest point since World War II. Ford Motor Co. crashed 25% to $1.26, though its market cap ($3 billion) remains nearly double that of more-troubled rival GM.
Interpublic Group of Cos. plunged 21.1% to $2.61, reaching its lowest point since 1986. Interpublic's biggest longtime client: General Motors.
Newspaper stocks took another pounding. McClatchy Co. sank 21.8%; Gannett Co. fell 12.5%; and New York Times Co. fell 10.3%.
Yahoo, Google down
Yahoo tumbled 20.9% to $9.14 after Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer reiterated the company has no interest in making a new offer to buy its internet rival. Yahoo is at its lowest price since February 2003. Its market cap -- $12.7 billion -- is less than one-third the takeover bid ($44.6 billion) from Microsoft that Yahoo rejected earlier this year.
Google fell 5.8% to $280.18, reaching its lowest price since August 2005.
Economic indicators could hardly be bleaker. The Consumer Price Index fell 1% last month in its biggest decline in 61 years, reflecting lower oil prices and a weak economy.
Minutes released today from the late October meeting of the Federal Reserve Board's Federal Open Market Committee show Fed officials generally expect the U.S. economy to contract in the second half of 2008 and first half of 2009.
Fed officials expect full-year 2008 real GDP growth of 0.0% to 0.3% (their "central tendency" growth range) and full-year 2009 GDP of -0.2% to 1.1%.
The committee's minutes said: "Participants generally expected the economy to contract moderately in the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009, and agreed that the downside risks to growth had increased. While some expected an improving financial situation to contribute to a recovery in growth by mid-2009, others judged that the period of economic weakness could persist for some time."
If there's any good news, it's that the Fed's governors and Reserve Bank presidents all agree the economy will be growing in 2010 (with predictions ranging from 1.5% to 4.5%) and 2011 (2% to 5%).