STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The plunge in global stock markets continues this morning. Investors are flocking to gold — sending the price to around $1,750 an-ounce. Oil has dropped to below $80 — over worries that another recession would slow demand for energy.
Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is with us live from London with the latest on those stories. Hi, Stephen.
STEPHEN BEARD: Hello, Steve.
CHIOTAKIS: All right, is this a market panic?
BEARD: The mood is incredibly volatile. Many European stock markets opened higher this morning after Asian markets recovered some of their losses overnight, but then, they saw the Dow futures price look ahead to how the U.S. markets might perform. That plunged and that took European markets with it — like mountaineers all roped together falling off a cliff. These markets really are tied together in the global economy.
CHIOTAKIS: What a visual — what should we be hoping for to reassure people and calm the markets, Steve?
BEARD: Well, investors want some sign that Europe and the U.S. are dealing with their respective debt problems, but without damaging growth. They want Europe and the U.S., in other words, to walk a tight rope of debt reduction, and keeping their economies growing. Mike Lenhoff of stock brokers Bruin Dolphin said investors are looking for a clear direction.
MIKE LENHOFF: The markets are already trying to, I guess, get their cue from some leadership, but in searching for it, it just isn’t there. So, in the absence of it all, momentum for the moment, and the traffic, is one way.
BEARD: That is down. He says investors are now looking for leadership from the U.S. from today’s meeting with Ben Bernanke and the Fed, hoping that would create some positive indicators.
CHIOTAKIS: And what, Stephen, are people around the world hoping Mr. Bernanke will do?
BEARD: Well, at the very least they hope he’ll make it clear that U.S. interest rates will remain low for a considerable period of time — so the U.S. avoids slipping back into recession which would be very damaging for the global economy.
CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London. Stephen, thank you.
BEARD: OK, Steve.