The markets fell sharply today as the dollar hit a fresh low against the euro, oil prices hit a fresh high, and more bleak news on the housing front came to light, MarketWatch reports. The Dow plummeted 214.6 points to settle at 12,040.39, its lowest level in 18 months. The Nasdaq fell 52.31 points to 2,220.50, and the S&P 500 dropped 29.36 to 1,304.34.
US mortgage foreclosures rose to an all-time high at the end of 2007, and news of loan defaults at Thornburg Mortgage and a Carlyle Group bond fund raised more worries about the deepening credit crisis, Bloomberg notes. "The hits just keep on coming," said one analyst. "Trying to stay optimistic and long-term focused is extremely hard at this point."